UPDATE: Joel Embiid Scored 39 points and had 13 rebounds in the 76ers' 123-117 win over the Nets on Wednesday night. What follows is the original pregame report.
The Brooklyn Nets are waiving the white flag before they even square off against the Philadelphia 76ers in a critical game with massive playoff seeding implications tonight. Who stands to benefit most from the Nets leaving their big guns on the bench? 76ers star center Joel Embiid.
WynnBET has set Embiid's player prop point total at 29.5 and his rebound total at 10.5 for tonight's game agaisnt the Nets. The odds indicate it's basically a coin flip if he'll score 30 or more points (-104 he does) whereas he's a -140 favorite to pull down 11 or more rebounds. Basically what we're saying here is Vegas projects Embiid to put up around a 30-11 game against the Nets.
That makes sense considering Brooklyn will be without Kevin Durant, James Harden, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge. Harden (hamstring) and Aldridge (illness) have designated injuries while Durant and Griffin are load managing. Kyrie Irving is expected to play, but obviously the point guard isn't going to help slow down Embiid.
This is a big blow to the Nets chances of securing the No. 1 seed in the East. They're currently tied with the 76ers for the top spot, but with only 18 more games to play including tonight's game, every win (or loss) matters. Of course, it's more important they are all healthy going into the playoffs so one could argue this is a smart choice by Brooklyn.
The Nets' lost players is the 76ers potential gain, especially Embiid. He's also managing his return from a knee injury sustained in March and has averaged only 29.2 minutes per game since returning five games again. He's averaging 27.2 points and 8.0 rebounds during that time, so while Vegas is confident he can put up big numbers in fewer minutes, bettors should be cognizant of his current situation. Still, with the Nets in full retreat, Embiid will likely be on the offensive when the 76ers host the Nets.