If the NBA season ended today the first round matchup in the Eastern Conference would see Cleveland and Philadelphia doing battle. We’ve got a little sneak preview of that potential clash in the 3/1 NBA free pick as the Cavaliers host the 76ers with Cleveland being set as -2.5 favorites. This nationally televised (TNT) contest is an interesting one as the rumors continue to swirl about Lebron James joining Philadelphia in the offseason – complete with billboard recruitment. With a win tonight however, the Sixers can say, “no, we’re good” as their rebuilding plan moves into the next phase.
Philadelphia Reeling on the Road
Tonight’s line of Cleveland -2.5 might seem a bit low considering the struggles that Philadelphia has had on the road this season. Not only are they just 13-17 away from the Wells Fargo Center, Philly has dropped six of their last seven road tilts. For all the drama surrounding the Cavaliers on a weekly basis, they are still pretty solid at home sporting a 21-9 record on the season. Not only that, the Sixers are getting legendary consistency from Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Dario Saric. The trio are the only ones in the NBA with a streak of 15+ games in double figures in scoring each.
Philadelphia has dropped the first two matchups against Cleveland this season but that’s no surprise considering the Cavs have won 11 straight in the series and 14 of 15 overall. The home team is also 6-1 ATS the last seven contests which doesn’t bode well for the Sixers. Philadelphia is in a rough stretch of 7 of 8 games being on the road but they should be especially zoned in for the 3/1 NBA free pick. Unfortunately Philly is 0-6-1 ATS their last 7 road games.
Can the Cavs Continue Their Dominance Over Philadelphia?
Cleveland has struggled mightily in nationally televised games this season, going a miserable 3-10 this year. The team wants to turn those fortunes around before playoff time and master troll Embiid could be the driving force behind that tonight. Lebron James should continue to dominate the Sixers in the 3/1 NBA free pick as he’s averaged 30 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 9.5 assists in the two games this season. James is playing exceptionally well lately, averaging a triple-double over the month of February.
Both teams come into tonight’s contest with just a days rest but Cleveland’s newfound bench depth should give them an advantage in that regard. The Cavs had four bench players score double figures twice in February – something the team hasn’t done in 7 years. The Cavs bench has scored 50+ points in 5 of the last 7 which is another example of that depth. Cleveland has gone 6-2 over their last 8 and are shooting over 50% from the field during that span but Philly has the #2 defense in the league in terms of opponents field goal percentage. Something has to give tonight.
3/1 NBA Free Pick Betting
Which side do you lean with on Thursday? On one hand Philadelphia is 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games but the Cavaliers are just 4-22 ATS in their last 26 home games versus a team with a losing road record. The Cavaliers are the most popular public bet of the night with 74% of the public backing them at home tonight. If Philadelphia wasn’t playing their third road game in 5 nights, they’d be the play on Thursday. However the Sixers aren’t an especially deep team whereas the Cavs will run them with 9 players likely to log 20+ minutes. Cleveland conquers their nationally televised fears in this one.
Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers -2.5