Philadelphia 76ers vs. Houston Rockets Betting Predictions

Philadelphia 76ers vs Houston Rockets Regular Season NBA
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Houston Rockets Betting Predictions

Both the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets have had a lot of success since the NBA restarted its season, but only one can finish the regular season with a victory. The loss of Ben Simmons is a problem for Philadelphia, so it might not have the firepower to keep up with the high-scoring Rockets. Houston’s offense could be the difference in this game.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Houston Rockets Betting Odds

Injuries are potentially a big storyline for both teams heading into the final game of the NBA regular season on Friday in the Orlando bubble. Philadelphia point guard Ben Simmons is out indefinitely with a partially dislocated kneecap, altering a major piece of the 76ers lineup. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook missed a game last week with a quadriceps injury, which might explain his poor shooting night against Portland earlier that week.

Houston’s backcourt duo of James Harden and Westbrook had been clicking in the bubble so far, picking up exactly where they left off in March when the season went on pause. Harden is shooting nearly 53 percent from the field and averaging 33.8 points so far in the bubble. Westbrook had back-to-back 31-point outputs before the game with the Trail Blazers and shot 45 percent from the field in those first two games.

The Rockets’ potential problem is their short rotation with only eight players seeing the floor, but that wasn’t an issue when Houston beat both the Bucks and Lakers in the bubble. It does put more pressure on the other six guys not named Harden or Westbrook, and those six struggled in the one game Houston has lost in Orlando thus far. But when Ben McLemore and/or Jeff Green are feeling it, the Rockets have proven to be a really dangerous team.

Philadelphia is a hard team to read because it didn’t have much trouble dispatching a mediocre Magic squad without Simmons on the floor. Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Al Horford played really well in Simmons’ absence, though the star of the day might have been Alec Burks’ 22 points off the bench because no one else on the 76ers roster scored more than six points.

Horford isn’t the same offensive force he once was, so the 76ers will need more secondary scoring from Shake Milton and Josh Richardson in order to be successful in the long term. Milton’s six points against the Magic were the second time in four games he hasn’t reached double figures – something he had accomplished in eight of nine games before the shutdown. Richardson’s 19- and 15-point performances in the bubble were not the norm for him this season, but they might be necessary without Simmons.

Burks’ 22 points were one more than he scored in the first three games combined, and Furkan Korkmaz has been a mixed bag as well in the bubble. No one else on the 76ers roster is a consistent enough scorer to help complement Embiid and Harris, which could put Philadelphia in trouble against Houston.

This will be the third game in four days for both teams, so fatigue will probably play a factor in this game. Both teams know how important this win would be for playoff seeding with razor-thin margins separating the middle of the pack in the Eastern and Western conferences. Ultimately, it comes down to which team you can trust the most, and right now that’s probably Houston.

It’s still unclear how Simmons’ injury will affect Philadelphia, and the New Jersey online sports betting sites will likely reflect that with the odds. Houston is a known commodity with Harden and Westbrook leading the charge and showing no signs of slowing down. The Rockets should end the regular season on the high note, but the 76ers will still give Houston a run for its money and inject both teams with confidence heading into the playoffs.

My Prediction

Rockets

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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