The Philadelphia 76ers have been perhaps the greatest story in the NBA this season as they lead the Atlantic Division by four games with a 14-6 record.
That outstanding record has also translated through the betting windows here in Las Vegas making several impartial bettors huge 76ers fans. Philadelphia is currently 14-5-1 against-the-spread, but how long will it last?
The combination of the 76ers great play and covering the large spreads set before them has to catch up to them sooner or later. In their last four games the Sixers have been favored by 11 points or more and have covered three of them. On the season they have been double-digit favorites seven times and have gone 6-1 ATS.
The reality of it all is that the Sixers are playing great defense which has led to the UNDER paying in 14 of their 20 games. But the common denominator between most the Sixers wins and the large spreads this season has been playing some of the NBA’s worst teams.
On Philly’s current home stand, they played four of the worst teams in the league – Charlotte, New Jersey, Washington and Detroit, a collective 18-64 between them.
The Sixers have also had the luxury of playing most of their recent games at home. After starting the season out on a five game road trip (3-2), they’ve played at home in 12 of their last 15 games. In those three road games, they beat the Wizards and lost to the Knicks and Heat.
The upcoming schedule gets dramatically tougher for the Sixers beginning this week when they face the Magic, Bulls and Heat. Then they have to go to Atlanta before coming back home to welcome the Lakers, Spurs and Clippers. As crazy as it may sound based on their performance thus far, it’s very possible Philly could end up 2-5 over that stretch.
The Sixers then hit the road for three games, come home to play the Mavericks and then play four more on the road.
The truth about the Sixers’ great run this season lies with the level of competition they’re playing and also getting to do so at home. They have yet to encounter the bulk of the tough Western conference teams. The few that they have met, they have lost to (Denver, Utah, Portland). Out of their 14 wins this season, we can qualify wins over Atlanta and Indiana (both wins at home) as their only quality victories.
February will tell the tale. As long as the Sixers play good defense they should be able to maintain their eight games above .500 record. But don’t expect to see the same type of scores or spreads we’ve been accustomed to over the last month.
With this tough stretch approaching, an 8-9 record over their next 17 games should be considered very good. Anything better would be a great achievement.