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NBA Free Pick | 76ers at Wizards


The Philadelphia 76ers opened up a commanding 2-0 lead over Washington in its first-round playoff series. The Eastís top seed can put an abrupt end to this series by winning two straight in Washington. 

Philadelphia won its only game in Washington this season, 127-101. Joel Embiid scored 23 points but left the game in the third quarter with an injury. Ben Simmons didnít play. 

Heading into Saturday nightís game, Wizards star Russell Westbrook is listed as day-to-day after suffering an injury to his right ankle. With or without Westbrook, NBA bettors know itís going to be difficult to beat Philadelphia.


Game: Philadelphia 76ers (51-23, 39-31-4 ATS) at Washington Wizards (35-41, 43-32-1 ATS)

When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, May 29, 2021

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

Current Line: PHI -5.5†††††††††† Total: 227.5

TV Coverage: ESPN

Which Team Will Show?

The Sixers were favored by eight in Game 1 and failed to cover, but blew out the Wizards in Game 2 as an 8.5-point favorite. Now playing on the road, Philly is a 5.5-point favorite on Saturday.

With Thursday and Friday off, Westbrook should have enough time to recover and be ready to play. He might not be 100 percent, but even at 80 heís better than most.

Then, there is a historical trend that favors the Wizards. Teams that begin a series down 2-0 and then return home in Game 3 tend to do very well Ö in the first half.

In our last NBA pick, we had Portland to cover the 6-points. They won by 22. Go check out our Spurs at Trail Blazers betting preview.

Since 2005, a team returning home to play Game 3 down 2-0 in a playoff series is 80-38-2 ATS in the first half of the next game. It makes sense. A team down 2-0 doesnít want to go down 3-0 because no team in NBA history has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit and won a playoff series.


History Matters

If you break it down to just the last five postseasons, the first half cover percentage is even greater. Teams down 2-0 playing Game 3 at home are 29-6 ATS in the first half. Thatís a win 82.9 percent of the time.

The problem for Washington is that the game is not over after you play the first half. The Wizards started well in Game 1 and led at the half by a single point. The Sixers then outscored Washington 64-56 to win.


76ers at Wizards Free Pick

Game 2 was never really in doubt as Philly started quickly and outscored the Wizards 49-38 in the second half while giving several minutes to members of the Sixersí bench.

Philadelphia has beaten Washington in seven straight games. There is no question they are the better team. The Wizards will be hyped up as they are playing at home and looking to stave off a 3-0 deficit in the series.

While the Wizards will play the Sixers tough in the first half, Philly is just too strong and will run away with it in the second. Plus, there is the issue of Westbrook. Itís likely he will not be 100 percent and while he is still an elite player at less than full strength it just wonít be enough to beat the top seed in the East. Sixers win and cover.


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