- The Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers matchup at Wells Fargo Center on March, 4th
- Philadelphia is favored by 7.5 points, and they’re riding a 3-0 run since James Harden’s debut
- Read below for the latest Sixers vs Cavs odds and our preview
The Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers go head-to-head on Friday, March, 4th in a game that will have a considerable impact on the Eastern Conference Playoff picture. Philly is three ahead of Cleveland coming into this one — Doc Rivers’ team are favored by 7.5 points.
The Sixers have won their first three with James Harden. Their record against the spread as home favorites is not great, though, as they have covered in just nine of 22. Cleveland has been one of the most profitable underdogs to back this season, covering in 63.3% of games when they aren’t favored. They are 12-7-1 ATS as road dogs.
This is the second of four meetings between these teams this season. Philly won the previous contest back on February, 12th, with Joel Embiid dropping 40 points.
76ers vs Cavaliers Odds
|Cleveland Cavaliers||+7.5 (-108)||+275||O 219.5 (-110)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||-7.5 (-112)||-350||U 219.5 (-110)|
Odds as of Mar 04 at FanDuel
The 76ers open as odds on favorites at -350 in the NBA odds with an implied win probability of 77.8% compared to 26.7% for the Cavaliers
The Cavaliers are expected to have Darius Garland available again after the point guard dropped 33 against the Hornets. Garland had missed the first three games after the break, adding to what is a backcourt crisis for the Cavs.
Collin Sexton (knee) is, of course, out for the year. Rajon Rondo (toe) is listed as doubtful, and Caris LeVert has been ruled out with a foot issue. Cleveland will once again look to Brandon Goodwin to take on ball-handling duties in non-Garland minutes, and we could see Isaac Okoro in a secondary playmaking role on occasion.
The Sixers have pretty much a clean injury report. Shockingly, there are no longer any concerns about James Harden’s hamstring. DeAndre Jordan, who cleared waivers and was signed on Thursday, is unlikely to be available, leaving Doc Rivers to portion backup center minutes between Paul Millsap and Paul Reed.
The Cavaliers give up the ninth-fewest mid-range shots per game — where Joel Embiid works a lot of his magic. They allow a lot of shots at the rim, but they are the league leaders in opponent field goal percentage in the restricted area thanks to the size of Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and to a lesser extent, Lauri Markkanen. Getting to the cup has been integral for the Sixers in James Harden’s first three games — both Harden and Embiid have been able to attack the basket at will.
Embiid is in the 96th percentile in share of his shots from the mid-range, and he’s in the 77th percentile in scoring efficiency at the rim. Harden’s arrival has allowed the MVP favorite to catch the ball on the move more often — how do the Cavs stop him dominating inside?
Very, very early but James Harden’s 47% rim frequency with the Sixers would be a career-high for him if it holds. He’s also shooting 73% (11/15) there after shooting 54% with Brooklyn this season.
— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) March 3, 2022
Fouling is obviously a huge factor here, too. The foul-heavy Timberwolves and Knicks were in an almighty mess dealing with Embiid and Harden. Getting to the line should be harder on Friday night, however, with Cleveland leading the league in free throws given up.
Joel Embiid on playing w/ James Harden:
“Unstoppable. What are you going to do? I’ve got someone who attracts a lot of attention. You’ve gotta make a decision- stay on me or stay on him? If you want to guard both of us, you’ve got Matisse diving to the rim & wide open shooters.”
— Lauren Rosen (@LaurenMRosen) February 28, 2022
On the other end, Cleveland is reliant on Mobley and Allen being able to score inside. They take almost 35% of their shots as a team from the restricted area. The pair combined for just 24 points when the teams last met, largely due to the deterrent of Embiid. Non-Embiid minutes will be huge for the Cavs on Friday night.
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Sixers vs Cavs Prediction
Very few expected the Sixers to look this good so quickly with Harden. Their opponents in the last three have to be taken into account, but the offense has been unstoppable thus far, and the defense has been relatively functional with switching on the perimeter and Embiid continuing to linger in the paint.
Cleveland’s low foul rate is something to be considered. The Sixers are unlikely to reach such wild free throw numbers as they have over the last three, but the play of Tyrese Maxey gives this offense another dimension.
Coming off a 21-point loss to Charlotte and with just one win in six, the Sixers are facing the Cavaliers at a good time. Take the hosts to cover as the Harden honeymoon continues.
Pick: Sixers -7.5 (-112)
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