Washington Wizards vs. Philadelphia 76ers – NBA, May 26, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| May 26, 2021 7:22 am PDT

The 76ers host the Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center in game two of this first-round playoff matchup. Philadelphia swept aside Washington in game one, winning by seven. However, the game was closer than the scoreline suggested, and for three quarters, nothing could separate these two teams.

But the Wizards dropped off in the third quarter, which gifted the win to the 76ers. Washington will need to stay focused throughout the match tonight if they are to draw level. If they go two down, they may find it challenging to claw things back against the Eastern Conference regular-season champions.

History is undoubtedly against them doing so as they have lost the last six in a row against these 76ers. During that period, the closest they have got to tonight’s opponents is six points as they have failed to land a glove on them. They have also lost the last four in Philadelphia, highlighting what a monumental effort is needed this evening.

As you would expect from such a one-sided fixture in recent years, the 76ers hold an average of a nine-point lead per game over the Wizards in their previous ten meetings. This has primarily been down to fast starts as they have taken a six-point lead into the second half, on average, during those games.

Analyzing the team performances during those matches, one thing stands out: the 76ers have dominated the rebounding stakes between them.

Wizards vs. 76ers Odds

Wizards +8-110
76ers -8-110
Wizards To Win+310
76ers To Win-355
Over 230.5 Points-110
Under 230.5 Points-110

Given their poor record against the 76ers, it’s easy to see why the Wizards have been given such a big lead in this one. When they met a couple of days ago, the spread was set precisely the same as tonight, and the Wizards managed to win with it. The points total was three points lower than it is here, and they smashed their way over that, combining for a total of 243-points.

The games between these two usually are always high-scoring as, over the last ten encounters, the average combined score has been 233-points. This has increased recently as if we focus on the previous three games; the average goes up to a massive 249-points.

The Wizards have a dreadful record as underdogs against teams from the east coast, having only won six of the 29 games they have entered as the betting outsiders. In contrast, the 76ers have dominated nearly every home game against Eastern Conference opposition as they have only lost two of the 22 games they have played.

Wagering on the Wizards?

The Wizards needed two bites at the cherry to get to this stage as they lost the opening game of the play in a tournament against the Celtics. However, they bounced back in fine fashion to annihilate the Pacers by 27-points. Their form recently has been slightly sketchy, but they have still managed to win three of their previous five games. But with that said, all three wins came against teams no longer in the playoffs.

Their form on the road recently has been dreadful, and they have lost their previous four in a row. You have to go back to the beginning of May to find their last away win, which was a narrow one-point victory after overtime against the Pacers.

Here are the latest betting trends for Washington:

  • Washington is 13-4-1 against the spread in their previous 18 matches.
  • Eight of their last 12 games have gone over the betting total.
  • The Wizards have won 13 and lost seven of their previous 20 matches.
  • They have won four of their last five encounters against the spread when facing the 76ers.
  • Washington is 12-3-1 against the spread when battling Eastern Conference opponents.
  • The total has gone under in eight of their previous 11 matches against teams based in the Atlantic Division.

One thing the Wizards can’t be accused of is being boring. They have a fantastic offense that averages 116-points per game and matches any team in the NBA. If there were one criticism of their attack, it would be their three-point shooting, which has been poor this season.

However, they have attacked as well on the road this season, as their record might suggest, as they are averaging two fewer points per game.

All of these superb attacking displays come at a price as they have the worst defense in the league, bar none. They are conceding a whopping 118-points per game, and therefore it’s easy to see why they have lost more games than they have won this season.

This is despite them holding their opponents to a respectable 46% from the field goal range.

If they could do that tonight against the 76ers, who have averaged 50% against them over the last ten games between them, then they would stand a chance of winning. To do this, they will need to get much closer to Philadelphia and certainly produce more blocks than the four per game they averaged in the regular season. They will also need to be better disciplined as they finished the regular season with the worst record in the NBA.

The Wizards will also need their main points provider Bradley Beal to have another game similar to the one he had a couple of days ago. Beal finished the game with 33 points, ten rebounds, and six assists. Russell Westbrook had a decent game, but if he can focus more on the matchup than his rivalry with 76ers star Joel Embiid, then it should give them a better shot of winning.

Washington has no new injury concerns heading into this one. They will miss Bryant and Avdija, who are out for the season.

Wagering on the 76ers?

The 76ers looked like a team well-rested in game one, and perhaps that’s what got them over the line in the end. They have won their last three in a row and only dropped two games from their previous 13 matches. Their two defeats during that time came against the Pacers and the Heat. In both losses, their attack misfired, and they only produced 94-points in each game. However, you have to feel the Wizards don’t have the defensive play to restrict them to a score under 100 and, therefore, could struggle.

Their home form is second to none this season as they finished the season with a record of 30-7.

They have won their last eight games in a row at the Wells Fargo Center, and the last team to dethrone them was the Suns back in April. So, what did the Suns do that others haven’t? Their bench players outscored Philadelphia’s bench by 29-points. This is something that let the Wizards down in game one. If they can improve upon this, then they might get close.

Here are the latest betting trends for Philadelphia:

  • Four of their previous six matches have gone over the betting total.
  • Philadelphia is 4-1-1 against the spread in their last six games played on a Wednesday.
  • They have won two-thirds of their previous 12 matches against the spread they have entered as the betting favorites.

The 76ers have a good offense that is powered by some accurate shooting in and around the paint.

They are averaging four points more per home game, so it is easy to see why they have such a formidable home record this season.

Their defense is rock solid, and they are only conceding 108-points per game on average. This is predominantly down to them restricting their opponents to a field goal percentage of 45%, one of the league’s lowest averages.

They work meticulously hard to win the ball back, which is why they have achieved the joint highest number of steals in the NBA this season. The 76ers can also block excellently, and they could certainly teach the Wizards a thing or two in this department.

Joel Embiid has been the star of the show for the 76ers this season, and it is no wonder many believe he could be this season’s MVP. He has put on a masterclass most nights this season, and against a defense as weak as the Wizards have, you feel he will build on the 30 points he scored in game one.

The 76ers have a clean bill of health tonight, which is a rarity at this time of the season.

Wizards vs. 76ers Betting Pick

Pick
  • Wizards +8
    -110

I like the Wizards; they play some fantastic basketball that you would probably find on a computer game. However, their style of basketball is never going to win a championship; it won’t even get close. While they can be a match for any team on their day, they are far too inconsistent.

They are coming up against arguably the most consistent, will-drilled team in the NBA in the form of the 76ers, and perhaps this is why they have struggled against them so much. The two teams could not be more opposite if they tried. I believe the 76ers will win, and they could even win the series without dropping a game.

However, the best bet here is the Wizards with the points.

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