The Philadelphia 76ers opened the regular NBA regular season on Dec. 23 at home against the Washington Wizards. They will host them again, Sunday, May 23, to start the playoffs.

Could this be good karma?

In between, the Sixers earned their first No. 1 Eastern Conference seed in 20 years while Washington scrapped to obtain the last playoff berth.

This best-of-seven matchup sparks a regional betfest for NJ sports betting customers.

Garden state bettors’ three favorite teams, the Sixers, Brooklyn Nets, and New York Knicks, all sport homecourt advantage for the first round.

Bing, the Nets host the Boston Celtics Saturday at 8 p.m. Put the capital P in prohibitive, as they are -1430 at DraftKings Sportsbook to win the series.

Bang, the Sixers host the Wizards, Sunday at 1 p.m. as big series chalk a -1250.

Boom, the Knicks host the Atlanta Hawks, Sunday at 7 p.m. as the +100-small dog in the series. Atlanta took the most recent money, going to -121 at DraftKings in the Eastern Conference’s most evenly-matched first-round fling

NJ online sportsbooks are offering a myriad of NBA betting options.

They include:

  • Individual game odds
  • Individual game props
  • Over-under total
  • Series winner
  • How many games the best-of-7 series goes

Beyond those, NJ bettors can still get futures action

Here are the odds to win the Eastern Conference at William Hill, requiring three playoff-round victories:

Brooklyn -110
Sixers +300 (down from +440 just a few days go)

And here are the odds to win the NBA title:

  • Nets +220
  • Los Angeles Lakers +425
  • Sixers +750
  • Knicks +8000

NBA Playoff betting preview: Sixers-Wizards

The Sixers, 49-23, attained home court throughout the conference finals for the first time since when they had Allen Iverson, Aaron McKie, and Dikembe Mutombo in 2001. That team lost to the Lakers in the NBA Finals.

Washington cemented the final playoff berth with a   142-117 Play-In tourney pasting of the Indiana Pacers.

So now that the first-round schedule is set, let’s examine the matchup.

The teams combined for 220, 228, and 277 in their three regular-season games, swept by the Sixers. This merits serious over-under considerations.

There were two tight games and one blowout.

The Sixers opened the season with a taut 113-107 triumph.

In the most exciting game of the series, the Sixers captured a shootout, 141-136. NBA MVP finalist Joel Embiid had 38 points and Seth Curry notched 28 for Philadelphia.

But what happened on the other side of the ball?

Bradley Beal went off with 60 points for Washington. And Russell Westbrook just missed a triple-double,  20 points, 12 assists, 8 rebounds.

Beal’s 60-point effort was tied with Jayson Tatum of the Celtics for the second, not first,  top-scoring honors (single game) in the NBA this season. The honor went to league scoring leader Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, with 62.

Looking at the lone rout in which Philadelphia cruised to a 127-101 victory in March. Big difference? Beal only had 19 and Westbrook had 25.

For the Sixers, Embiid notched 23 while Shake Milton and Furkan Korkmaz tallied 18 apiece.

The Sixers are well-rounded, although Embiid is a player they can’t do without.

The Wizards rely on two ultra-stars

Consider Beal and Westbrook for specialized props, triple-doubles, etc.

Beal is the real deal

The talented guard-forward propelled Washington from well off the playoff picture at the All-Star break to the postseason.

Beal tabbed a 31.3 scoring average, second in the league to Curry, 32.

Russell Westbrook led the league in assists with more than 11 per game and is a born playmaker.

Against Indiana Thursday night, his triple-double prop line at William Hill was -400.  Westbrook is a great player to admire, but it’s not easy to cash in on that.

Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the season. That was 21.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 11.2 assists.

Westbrook is the all-time king of triple-doubles, at 182. He must be on his game for the Wizards to have any chance.

76ers-Wizards numbers differential

So where is the statistical smoking gun?

Washington averages 116.6 points per game, third in the league, versus the Sixers at 113.6

Washington averages 45.2 rebounds per game, the Sixers 45.1 Call it even.

Some difference shows up with steals. The Sixers led the league along with the Memphis Grizzlies, 9.1.

Washington is down at the pack a little, but still at 7.3.

So where is it? Defense.

The Sixers allowed 109 points per game, Washington 120. That’s significant.

Points differential per game brings it out further.

The Sixers were +5.5 for the season.

Washington was -1.8.

Put them together and the Sixers would be 7.3 points better than the Wizards. And two results, five and six-point wins by the Sixers, were in that range.

Looking at the other NBA Playoff series

DraftKings and FanDuel Sportsbook both zero in on five games for the Brooklyn-Boston series. But it can be bet a couple of different ways.

At DraftKings, under 5.5 games pays -167. The over is +130.

At Fan Duel, the series to go five games exactly is the shortest payout, +196. Going exactly six is +310.

That over 5.5 games bet returns +130 at DraftKings because it doesn’t require the bettor to nail the exact game total.  It can be six or seven and still pay.

The Knicks and Hawks will be entertaining. It would not be surprising to see each team win a road game.

Here’s a really fun one, the Game 1 and series parlay at DraftKings.

Big money if a team loses the first game and then wins the series. It’s possible in this type of matchup.

Knicks win Game One and the series is +165.

Hawks are +210 for the same thing.

Knicks win Game One, Hawks win the series is +330.

Hawks win Game One, Knicks win series is +500.

What about the defending champs?

If you like betting the Western Conference, the defending champion Lakers are -167 against the Phoenix Suns, despite being the seventh seed and a narrow play-in game survivor. The Suns are +130 despite winning nine games more than the Lakers.

The betting odds reflect the Lakers being at full health. Will they be?

Dreamstime Photo

 

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.