January 29, 2012 -
The Philadelphia 76ers have been perhaps the greatest story in the NBA this season as they lead the Atlantic division with a 16-6 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 15-6-1 against-the-spread, and Wednesday night against Chicago, the 76ers were 2-point underdogs and won by 16 points, 98-82.
So how long can all this last, the winning and covering the spread?
The combination of the 76ers great play and covering the large spreads set before them has to catch up to them sooner or later. 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 happening in 15 of their 22 games, including against the Magic when the UNDER covered by about 30 points. But the common denominator driving the Sixers’ wins and the large spreads this season has been that the Sixers have 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 14 of their last 17 games. In those 3 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. With the Magic and Bulls behind them, they the Heat. Then they have to go to Atlanta before coming back home to welcome the Lakers, Spurs and Clippers. Following that stretch, they 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 15 wins this season, we can count wins over Atlanta, Indiana and Orlando (all at home) as their only quality wins.
February will tell the tale of the Sixers season. As long as they play good defense they should be able to maintain their 8 to 9 games above .500 record.
–by Micah Roberts