Halloween season must be quickly approaching as my NBA record this week has gotten scary real quick. The Christian Wood props last night were very frustrating as Jason Kidd did not run him in the rotation as much as you would expect him to against such a susceptible Brooklyn defense on the interior. I am now 0-4 on my last four plays from Wednesday and Thursday which is not ideal, but I will look to turn things around with a fun slate this weekend. I will also be tweeting out plays as always, so follow along at @AndyHHSports on Twitter. Here goes nothin'...
Toronto Raptors Moneyline (-120) - 1 Unit
Scottie Barnes over 24.5 Pts/Rebs/Asts (-134) - 1.5 Units
As soon as the news came out that Joel Embiid is questionable for tonight with injury management I did not hesitate to throw on this line for a unit. We’ve seen Harden feature as more of a focal point on this offense so far this season for Philly, and it had not gone as well as their start last season or their start when Harden and Embiid linked up at the trade deadline. Embiid is one of the main keys that makes the Sixers click, which is not rocket science after an MVP-level performance last season that propelled Philly to the top half of the East.
But what are the Sixers like without Embiid? Their offensive efficiency last season in 14 games without the big man was 109.9 which put them in the bottom fifth of the league. The lengthy Raptors should have no problem containing the Sixers, and Philly will need huge shooting nights from Maxey and Harden in order to win tonight. Montrezl Harrell and Paul Reed will get some extended run with an emphasis on Harrell, which I am not as happy about compared to Reed who has looked great when the Sixers give him minutes.
I could go on and on but this one is as simple as the first line of my write-up. No Embiid? No Sixers.
On top of that, I really like Scottie Barnes to have a big night tonight. Scottie went over his 24.5 number for tonight three of the four times he played against the Sixers last season. He also is averaging far above this number in the three healthy games he has played so far this year.
The Sixers' defense is going to be non-existent tonight, especially inside. I highlighted it in my Monday Best Bets piece, but Philly is one of the worst rebounding teams this season, and without top rebounder Joel Embiid, I think Scottie will have his way grabbing some extra boards tonight. Even if Embiid is healthy, the Sixers have been very susceptible to allowing forwards and big men to have huge games this year. I am feeling confident in this one, and I am sure Scottie is feeling confident given the news too.
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Charlotte Hornets TT over 110.5 (-114) - 0.75 Units
I am beginning to look at more team totals as we learn more about these teams in an early season. The Hornets are a team that intrigues me, not because they are any good, but because the offense has continued to be on absolute fire as it was last season even under defensive-minded head coach Steve Clifford. The Hornets still miss LaMelo Ball, and Terry Rozier is a game-time decision. But even without the star guards guys like Hayward, Oubre, and Washington have stepped up more than many expected to carry the scoring load.
The Hornets have gone over this 110.5 mark in all four of their games this season which is great. The reason I am not laying a full unit here is because of the Magic defense. I’ve touched on it several times the last two weeks, but Orlando finished the final two months of last season with a Top 5 defense, and have kept games very low scoring this season too. They are off to an 0-5 start but have been a fun team to watch as they continue to figure each other out and the three-headed monster of Paolo, Franz, and Wendell attack opposing teams.
The good news is three of the Magic’s five games have allowed more than 110.5 points, with just the Hawks and Cavs falling a tad short. The Hornets sit in the Top 5 of offensive efficiency ratings this season, as do the Celtics whose potent offense put up 124 on the Magic a week ago. Let’s ride with the hot-handed Hornets here (alliteration play) and watch two teams who are hoping for high lottery spots this spring.
Jacob Kupferman - Getty Images
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