Here come the chameleons.

As the Philadelphia Sixers make their NBA return Saturday against the Indiana Pacers, bettors are backing the home court model — a league-best 29-2.

They have ignored Philly’s 10-24 road mark and made them 6-point favorites at FanDuel and DraftKings on the neutral court in Orlando, FL. 

By Thursday afternoon, the line had dropped to 5.5 at both sportsbooks.

There is Philly Fever in the NJ sports betting world.

DraftKings Sportsbook reports that the Sixers have taken the second-most championship money, 16%, at odds of 20-1. Only the Los Angeles Lakers, the league favorite at +240, have more action, 33%, than the Sixers.

“I see bets come through on a daily basis, and recently the Sixers are taking more than any other team,” said Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings. “This is the healthiest they have been. The team was not gelling before, but with so many players back, maybe now they have a second chance to win.

“They are very talented.”

So how will the first game of the Sixers restart play out? Here are five things to look at. (Odds as of 7 p.m. EST July 30.)

Aug. 1 Game (Moneyline)DraftKingsFanDuelPointsBet
Philadelphia 76ers-230-235-236
Indiana Pacers+190+205+185

1. No home court advantage + no fans

This is a neutral court, and these teams have the same record, 39-26.

In theory, the line at NJ online sportsbooks should be much closer. There is a premium built into the line that the Sixers are going to advance another level.

2. High moneyline for Sixers vs. Pacers

The Sixers have a high moneyline task, too.

They are -230 at DraftKings and -235 at FanDuel Sportsbook.  That’s a lot for a six-point game.

The Pacers are +190/+205, and there will be bargain hunters.

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3. Watch the totals

The over-under for total points was 211.5 at DraftKings, 212 at FanDuel. That has since shifted to 216 at FanDuel, 211.5 at DraftKings.

The oddsmakers have an uncanny way of being right around the totals number.

Seems a little low if you think the Sixers will hit their outside shots with their tall players, but not unreasonable a total if you believe that since the players have been off for four months, they won’t be sharp.

Watch the earlier games to get a barometer of whether the shooters are on.

Guesstimate? It won’t take them long to get comfortable, maybe a couple of games.

4. The Sixers are healthy for NBA restart

Easily the most perplexing team in the league before the shutdown, the Sixers have a chance to start healthy and fresh in Orlando.

And Tobias Harris isn’t shy about trumpeting the Sixers’ championship aspirations or the fact that the chemistry was way off previously. Reconciling those things immediately is critical, especially for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Simmons pronounced himself healthy after a four-month rehab process from a bad back. A Simmons at 100% does put Philadelphia on another level.

5. Pacers’ key offense won’t be playing

Damontos Sabonis is the heart of the Indiana offense. But he won’t play.

Sabonis, who leads the Pacers with 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds, also averages five assists. But a plantar fasciitis flare-up prompted him to leave the team. He may not be back at all.

If you liked that Sixers -6 line, hopefully you got it. The line moved to 5.5 at DraftKings and will likely shift again before Saturday.

Looking back to previous Sixers-Pacers games

The three previous games between the teams were entertaining.

The best may have been the first. In November, the Sixers nudged the Pacers 119-116 at home. That’s the only time that Simmons, Embiid and Harris were in the lineup for the Sixers in this rivalry.

Embiid had 32 points, Harris notched 22 and Simmons had 15.

In December, the Pacers got even on their home floor, beating the Sixers 115-97. Sabonis had 23 points and T.J. Warren 21 for the Pacers. The Sixers did not have Embiid, who, at 25, is working on his third consecutive 20-point, 10-rebound average for a season.

They did not have him the next time either, a 101-95 setback in January on the road. But Simmons had 24 points, Harris notched 23 and Josh Richardson stepped up with 23.

There are interesting variables to read into all three games. They indicate that a fully healthy Sixers team is a little better than the Pacers. For the first since 1984-86, the 76ers are going for their third consecutive .600-plus season.

The odds of this game reflect that.

PointsBet celebrates the return of NBA

Want to bet the Sixers? Or the Pacers? Or anyone else? PointsBet NJ just stepped up with an enticing promo, available only to New Jersey bettors.

How about that? Just for Jersey.

One of them is juice-free betting on the NBA for the eight-game regular-season resumption. No vig! Bettors are not laying the customary 10% just to place a bet. This savings adds up and directly impacts the bottom line.

And there are no $50 limits tied to regular promos. These are “normal trading limits.” Attention, all “whales”: This is an invitation to make some big wagers. The book has essentially returned its built-in profit on every bet to the gamblers.

The second is an insurance policy. If your team scores the first point of the game and then loses, PointsBet will refund you up to $50 in free bets.

Eight out of the last 10 games before the NBA suspended its season involved a team scoring first but losing.

This only applies to the first $50 staked on pregame moneyline bets. It is available in every single NBA game but applies only to the first moneyline bet on each game.

Clients betting on both moneylines in the same game will not be eligible for the promotion.

Dave Bontempo

About

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.