Nets-76ers Preview: Ben Simmons is Back, Back Again


Jan 25, 2023

Tonight will be Brooklyn Nets forward Ben Simmons’s second appearance on the court in Philadelphia, but it might feel like his first, as last time, Philadelphia 76ers Joel EmbiidJames Harden, and Tyrese Maxey did not play. It wasn’t the same.

We know there’s bad blood between Simmons and Embiid. They have deflected or refused to acknowledge media questions regarding each other and openly admitted they have not spoken since Simmons quit the team. You know each is going to want to make a statement tonight. 

Nets @ 76ers Game Information
  • Location: Wells Fargo Center | Philadelphia, PA
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN

Both Embiid and Harden are listed as questionable tonight. They are each on five days rest, as neither played in the final leg of the Sixers road trip, so we’d be shocked if neither played. Their appearance on the injury report feels more of a formality than anything serious.

Brooklyn lost four straight in the wake of Kevin Durant’s injury but looked to find some continuity over their recent back-to-back victories. Falling to fourth in the East, it’s hard to see the Nets make up ground without Durant, who is expected to be out for another two weeks. 

The Sixers are rolling. They swept their five-game west coast road trip and have won 18 of their last 22. In sole possession of the East’s second seed, the chemistry is finally coming together between the stars, and their substantial depth, which is proving invaluable. 

Nets @ 76ers Game Odds on FanDuel
  • Spread: Nets +5 (-112) | 76ers -5 (-108)
  • Moneyline: Nets (+166) | 76ers (-198)
  • Total: Over 225.5 (-114) | Under 225.5 (-106)

All it will take for the Philly crowd to escape their Eagles’ euphoria and focus on their hatred of Ben Simmons will be for him to be introduced before tipoff. The Nets haven’t looked the same without Durant, while the Sixers have been surging. That’s enough for us to roll with the home favorite.

This line looks to be already baking in Embiid and Harden being out there, so we’ll lay the five points with the Sixers, continuing a good week in Philadelphia.

Nets @ 76ers Prop Picks on FanDuel
  • Ben Simmons OVER 7.5 Points (-132)
  • Kyrie Irving OVER 5.5 Rebounds (+112)
  • Joel Embiid 30+ Points &  James Harden 10+ Assists & Sixers ML 

Simmons has taken seven-plus field goal attempts in 15 of 35 games this season. In 12 of those 15 games, he scored nine or more points. In his first game in Philly, he took seven shots. It’s human nature to want to prove your doubters wrong, so we’re backing Simmons being a bit more aggressive offensively against his former team.

Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving has averaged 6.6 rebounds in games without Durant this season and has combined for 31 rebounds over his last four (7.8 per). Like the Nets, the Sixers rank in the bottom three in team rebounds per game, so we see the opportunity for Irving to continue his streak. We like the value here at plus-money.

Philly’s props aren’t out yet due to the questionable statuses of Embiid and Harden, but we’ll look to play this parlay. We were on the Embiid-Harden parlay in our Sixers-Clippers preview last Tuesday, and that was the only night it didn’t hit over their previous six games together. We’ll continue to play this parlay and toss in the Sixers’ moneyline for some added value.

Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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