Philadelphia enters this inter-conference matchup currently riding a five-game winning streak. The 76ers hold a 1.5 game lead over the Nets in the Eastern Conference standings and will hope to extend the winning streak and clinch that top spot in the coming games.
Houston has shown signs of life in recent games, but still has a stronghold of the dreaded last-place spot in the Western Conference. Houston has lost eight of their last 10 games and has certainly shifted their focus to 2021-2022.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening 76ers-Rockets odds.
NBA Odds: 76ers-Rockets Odds
Philadelphia 76ers -13.5 (-110)
Houston Rockets +13.5 (-110)
Over 222.5 Points (-110)
Under 222.5 Points (-110)
Why The 76ers Could Cover The Spread
Philadelphia is now in the middle of a three-team battle for the top spot in the east as the Milwaukee Bucks have surged back into the conversation. The 76ers currently hold a 1.5 game lead over the Brooklyn Nets and a three-game lead over the Bucks. Philly has Milwaukee to thank for beating the Nets twice over the past five days, which is directly why Brooklyn has slipped in the standings. The winning streak is impressive, but Doc knows that his team still has a ton of room for improvement.
Rivers mentioned in the postgame interview after his team’s last victory that he was displeased with the bench for giving away leads in two straight games. Philadelphia may have the best starting five in the NBA, but Rivers knows that it’s the depth that will ultimately be the difference come postseason time. With Ben Simmons surging and Joel Embiid continuing his MVP-level production, the 76ers are still a team that no one wants to run into down the stretch. Philadelphia is 4-1 ATS over their last five games coming into this matchup with the lackluster Rockets.
Why The Rockets Could Cover The Spread
The Houston Rockets are in full tank mode as the season comes to a close. They’ve won games here and there with electrifying performances from guys like Kevin Porter Jr., but this team has its sights set on next season. Houston has lost two straight games since their impressive win against the Milwaukee Bucks. Porter Jr. dropped a whopping career-high 50 points in the win. The Rockets have a brutal four-game road trip waiting for them after the conclusion of this game.
Houston is most likely excited for the upcoming road trip that includes stops in Milwaukee, Utah, Portland, and Los Angeles. For a team that is tanking, that seems like a clear four-game losing streak waiting to happen. Although this team is losing with purpose, Christian Wood has still emerged as one of the more skilled bigs in the league. He led the way in the latest loss with 19 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and a block. Wood and Kelly Olynyk have paired quite nicely in the frontcourt for Houston and pose problems for opposing clubs throughout ballgames.
Final 76ers-Rockets Prediction & Pick
With the top seed in the Eastern Conference in the palm of their hands, you know Doc Rivers won’t let his team play down to the competition in this matchup. I expect Philadelphia to come out firing on all cylinders and absolutely lockdown on the defensive end. Houston doesn’t have the health or firepower to keep up with a fully healthy Philadelphia bunch. The 76ers will continue their winning streak in a convincing fashion.
FINAL PICK: Philadelphia 76ers -13.5 (-110)