Mark Strotman for Bookies.com

By Mark Strotman | | 6 mins

3 Reasons The Time Is Now To Jump On 76ers NBA Title Odds

3 Reasons The Time Is Now To Jump On 76ers NBA Title Odds
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There comes a time in every player’s career when he jumps from superstar to champion. We saw it a season ago when Giannis Antetokounmpo went God-like in the 2021 NBA Playoffs with averages of 30.2 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. The year before that, Anthony Davis etched his name in history with a remarkable performance in the Bubble, averaging 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists.

Those two bigs, of course, had help. Giannis saw Khris Middleton average 23.6 points, 7.6 assists, and 5.1 assists and have three games of 29+ points in the Finals. Davis had some fella named LeBron James by his side averaging 27.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.8 assists in the postseason. Big Threes may get the headlines, but the reality is today’s NBA wins with pairs.

And boy, oh boy, do the Philadelphia 76ers have a pair. In fact, they’ve finally got a pair of players that will help them reach the promised land and win the 2022 NBA Finals. Here’s why it’s time to jump on Joel Embiid, James Harden, and the Sixers’ +700 NBA futures odds for the title right now at DraftKings.


RELATED: How The NBA Trade Deadline Moves Impacted Betting Markets


Harden gives Embiid his elite sidekick

Thursday’s trade deadline was one of the most eventful in recent memory—thanks to Sixers GM Daryl Morey. He parted ways with disgruntled point guard Ben Simmons, as well as Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two future first-round picks in exchange for Harden. And you can make all the defensive jokes and look to all his postseason shortcomings, but Harden is every bit the elite player who made 10 All-Star games, won three scoring titles, and earned MVP honors in 2018.

This is the sidekick Joel Embiid has been waiting for. There will also be jokes made about there only being one basketball for the two of them to share, but Harden actually took a backseat in Brooklyn and still produced: After a usage rate of 33.4% his first eight years in Houston, Harden’s usage rate in Brooklyn was 28.4%. In those two years, he ranked 28th and 21st, respectively, in usage. Harden can be effective without needing to touch it every trip down the floor.

What’s more, Harden can still be used in his old Houston role when Embiid’s not on the floor. Over the last few years, the Sixers didn’t really have a secondary playmaker/ball handler to take the pressure off when Embiid went to the bench (Jimmy Butler? Tobias Harris? Markelle Fultz?). Harden is going to flourish in a two-man game with Embiid. It will, of course, take time, but the raw talent is here for both of them to make it work.

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The Sixers supporting cast is terrific

The Sixers had to part with Seth Curry’s career-best campaign and a significant minutes-eater in Andre Drummond, but we’re still bullish on the rest of Doc Rivers’ supporting cast. Tobias Harris can move into his more natural No. 3 scoring role with Harden in the picture, and Tyrese Maxey is a 40.2% 3-point shooter on catch-and-shoot attempts, suggesting he’ll be fine playing off the ball with Harden in the game. He can run point when Harden sits.

Matisse Thybulle was off limits in a Harden deal, and retaining his services gives the Sixers one of the premier defenders in the league. That matters in the postseason when you’ve got guys like DeMar DeRozan, Khris Middleton, Jimmy Butler, and Jayson Tatum on the wing. Georges Niang, Furkan Korkmaz, and Danny Green round out a well-balanced roster for Rivers to utilize as he sees fit.

Supporting casts matter—think Bobby Portis in Milwaukee and Rajon Rondo in Los Angeles—and one of those players is going to come up clutch in the postseason. Embiid and Harden will do the heavy lifting, but one of Harris, Maxey or someone else will need to step up.

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The path to the Finals feels wide open

There is no 2017 Warriors team in this year’s NBA. LeBron James is no longer a guarantee to make the Finals. We haven’t had a repeat champion—or conference winner—in four seasons. Everything feels wide open, despite there being some heavy favorites at betting sites and on betting apps at the top.

The current favorite, Harden’s former Nets, are slotted seventh in the East. The Warriors and Suns could cancel each other out in the West Finals, while the Bucks and Heat would have difficulty matching up with the Embiid/Harden combo in the East.

Any championship run means knocking off juggernauts, and it wouldn’t be any different for the Sixers. But we believe they should be at the top of the NBA betting list because of the Embiid/Harden combination. Embiid has somehow taken his game to a whole new level, and we’re optimistic that a rejuvenated Harden could regain his Houston form. Add in the complementary pieces and a Hall of Fame coach in Rivers and you’ve got what should be the favorite to win the Finals.

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The Nets will be legitimate contenders—maybe

There’s no doubt that Ben Simmons will be playing motivated basketball once he returns to the Nets lineup. He’ll join an (eventually) healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving (in road games, for now) to form an outstanding Big Three in Brooklyn. They’re still the NBA odds favorites for a reason, and we’re big fans of the depth they gained by adding Curry and Drummond.

But major question marks remain: Will Durant stay healthy? Will Irving get vaccinated, or will the New York mandate change? Can Simmons get up to speed, and can he shake his playoff yips? The talent is undoubtedly there, but no team has such significant questions that need answers heading into the last few months of the regular season.

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Time To Back The 76ers Is Now

We believe the time is now to hop on Philadelphia’s odds. They’re only going to shorten as Harden gets acclimated, Rivers finds the best balance of the rotation, and Embiid continues closing in on his MVP campaign.

This was the move Morey needed to make, and the combination of two elite stars playing motivated basketball will ultimately end in the Larry O’Brien trophy. We’re all aboard Embiid, Harden and the Sixers to win it all at +700.

About the Author

Mark Strotman for Bookies.com
Mark Strotman
Mark is a veteran sports journalist who has covered the Bulls and the NBA since 2012. His work has appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune and Yahoo Sports.