NBA Friday February 25th 76ers at Timberwolves Betting Preview
James Harden Likely Debuts for Philadelphia
The February 25th 76ers at Timberwolves betting contest is somewhat difficult to handicap considering nobody knows how Philadelphia will play in the expected debut of James Harden. The 2018 MVP came over to the City of Brotherly Love at the trade deadline in the Ben Simmons deal, and now begins life running the pick and roll with one of the best big men in the league.
While this will be Philadelphia’s first game since all-star weekend (which has also allowed Harden more time to practice with the team), Minnesota gets a back-to-back right out of the break following their 119-114 home win over Memphis on Thursday night. The T’Wolves have won three of their last four and are up to 7th in the West – on pace for avoiding the play-in tournament if they can get on a run over the final months of the regular season.
Chemistry Shake Up for Philadelphia
It was a smart move for Philadelphia to get Ben Simmons out of town because he was never going to join the team in the foreseeable future, but the trade for Harden also cost the Sixers Seth Curry and Andre Drummond who have both been playing pretty solid with the Nets. Curry has 20+ points in three of four games with Brooklyn while Drummond has averaged 11 rebounds in his four contests since switching teams.
Philadelphia has gone 1-1 since the trade deadline which includes a devastating 135-87 loss to Boston (at home) but also a 123-120 win in Milwaukee prior to the break as +6.5 underdogs. That victory at Fiserv Forum allowed Philadelphia to keep a slight lead over the Bucks for 3rd place in the Eastern Conference.
The February 25th 76ers at Timberwolves betting matchup is interesting to see if Philadelphia gave up too much to acquire Harden. Joel Embiid will either thrive with defenses pulling out of the paint to guard Harden – or the big man will start to get frustrated if he sees his usage dip dramatically.
Minnesota Started the Second Half Well
The Timberwolves look headed to ending a stretch of just one playoff appearance since 2004, as they are coming into their own at 32-28 on the season. The Timberwolves started off on the right foot with a 119-114 victory over Memphis in their return from the all-star break, as +2 point underdogs.
D’Angelo Russell outplayed Ja Morant on Thursday night scoring a season high 37 points including 23 in the fourth quarter to propel the Wolves to victory. That was still a close game though, leaving Minnesota’s resources perhaps a little depleted for the Philadelphia game on the back to back.
Karl-Anthony Towns did log just 28 minutes vs. Memphis, battling foul trouble which could actually help him be a little more recharged for the battle with Embiid. The Wolves are likely going to need a better performance from Anthony Edwards to trip up the Sixers here, as he was just 1-11 shooting vs. Memphis.
Free February 25th 76ers at Timberwolves Betting Pick
The betting public loves Philadelphia tonight, giving just 2.5 points against a Minnesota team playing on 0 days rest. This means about over 80% of bettors are expecting the Harden debut to go seamlessly, providing a great opportunity to go contrarian that it doesn’t.
76ers 104 – Timberwolves 109
Free Pick: Timberwolves +2.5