In the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader on TNT, the Sixers will continue their five-game road trip against the Mavericks at 7:30 p.m. ET. This is the first meeting between the two teams this month, as they will play again on March 29 in Philadelphia. The Sixers (40-21) enter tonight’s game as the third seed in the Eastern Conference. The Mavericks (32-31) are currently in the play-in tournament as the seventh seed if the season ended today. However, Dallas can still make up ground in the West, as they are only two games behind the Suns for the No. 4 seed.
Philadelphia is coming off an impressive 119-96 win over the Heat on Wednesday after losing to Miami 101-99 on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers did not have All-Star center Joel Embiid (left foot) on the floor, but that did not matter as Tyrese Maxey; and James Harden combined for 50 points, 8-of-16 shooting from three, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists. Philadelphia also got an excellent performance from Paul Reed, who had 16 points and 14 rebounds.
As for the Mavericks, they have lost four out of their past five games and two consecutive contests heading into tonight’s matchup. Dallas lost 124-122 to Indiana on Tuesday night despite Luka Doncic producing 39 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. Kyrie Irving, who took the last shot for the Mavs, scored 16 points on 7-of-18 shooting from the field and 0-4 from three-point range. Irving will hope for a better outing tonight against a Sixers team that he’s averaging 26.5 and 6.0 assists per game against this season (two games).
Can the Sixers carry their momentum from Wednesday’s win over the Heat into tonight’s game against Luka and Kyrie? Or will the Mavs rise to the occasion as they try to keep themselves out of the play-in tourney in the West? Below, we’ll break down this contest while giving our prediction and best bets for bettors looking for a small payday.
Spread: Philadelphia +2.5 (-105); Dallas -2.5 (-115)
Moneyline: Sixers +125; Dallas -155
The Sixers are short road underdogs for tonight’s game due to Embiid being listed as probable. The All-Star center got the night off against the Heat as the Sixers received contributions from everybody in their blowout on Wednesday. Surprisingly, the Sixers are 9-4 this season without Embiid. However, the team would like to have Embiid for tonight’s game, as he should dominate the Mavericks’ frontcourt, which is allowing 50.7 points in the paint per game this season (18th in the NBA) and 59.7 points in the paint per game over their past three games. Philadelphia is 14-13 against the spread on the road and 5-6 ATS as a road underdog this season.
The Sixers are also 5-2-1 ATS on no rest, which bodes well for bettors thinking about laying the points with Philly. Meanwhile, the Mavericks have been one of the best teams at home this season with a 20-10 record, but that hasn’t translated well to the spread, as Dallas is 10-19-3 ATS — the second-worst cover rate in the NBA behind the Heat (8-20-2). Lastly, Doncic and Co. are 9-18-2 ATS as home favorites, which is another excellent sign for those bettors that want to take the Sixers.
If Embiid does not play, we will take the Mavericks to cover this small number. Even though the ATS trends don’t back up Dallas, they still have two dynamic scoring guards in Doncic and Irving who can take over a game at any moment. Dallas has lost its past two games by just a combined five points.
However, if Embiid does play — which seems slightly more likely at the moment — take the Sixers outright on the money line. Dallas does not have the depth at center to compete with the All-Star, and if he can establish himself inside the paint, it will do wonders for Harden and Maxey, who is starting to turn a corner. Philly will also need their bench to show up, as the Mavericks have three guys in Christian Wood, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Josh Green, who can score points in bunches.
Best Bet: Dallas -2.5 (if Embiid does not play)
Best player prop bet for Sixers vs. Mavericks: Kyrie Irving OVER 4.5 rebounds (+105)
If you are looking for a plus-money player prop bet for tonight’s matchup, look no further than Irving’s rebound total. He has done a solid job on the boards this season, averaging 5.1 per game between his time in Brooklyn and Dallas. In his first seven games with the Mavericks, Irving is coincidentally recording 5.1 rebounds per game and has gone OVER 4.5 rebounds four times. We also like Irving’s rebounds and assist prop, which is at 10.5 (+110). The All-Star point guard has gone over this number in five out of seven games.
Sixers vs. Mavericks: DFS lineups
Lineup assembled in DraftKings Showdown mode. Six spots, $50,000 limit
For our showdown lineup, we will be taking a risk at the Captain spot with Harris, who has played better in his past five games (24.9 FPPG). However, he’s capable of having a clunker, which we saw Monday night against the Heat (10.8 DK points). We also have Embiid in our showdown lineup, who is listed as probable after sitting out Wednesday’s game. The Mavericks give up a lot of points in the paint, which is good news for Embiid and individual DFS players. Lastly, we have Irving in our lineup, who is finding his groove with the Mavs but still averaging 45.4 DK points per game in his past seven games.