Previewing the Sixers-Hawks Series

Posted on June 6, 2021 - Last Updated on June 9, 2021

Ok everybody, just breathe. In and out. Goooooos-fraba.

The Philadelphia 76ers advanced from the first round of the NBA playoffs, Wednesday night, eliminating the overmatched Washington Wizards in front of a raucous crowd at the Wells Fargo Center. That’s the good news.

The bad news is they did so with All-Star center Joel Embiid on the bench in designer sweats. Embiid injured his knee on Memorial Day and is day-to-day with a slight lateral meniscus tear. His availability, again, remains in question.

The Sixers outclassed Washington with their five-game victory in the quarterfinals. They’ll face a step up in competition with the Southeast Division champs. 

Season Series

Each team won at home during the regular season. The Sixers took two major wins, 127-83 and 126-104 at the Wells Fargo Center, while Atlanta won 112-94 at the Phillips Arena. The Hawks won while the Sixers were dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak, while the Hawks were shorthanded in their losses, including missing Trae Young for the first blowout.

These games without two full rosters provide little insight. Embiid played in all three games and his absence could be the most significant. 

Round 1 Recap

Like the Sixers, the Hawks won their series against the New York Knicks in five games. The Hawks looked superior to the young upstarts, especially at home. Atlanta averaged 104 points per game on 44 percent shooting, 36 percent from 3, and 83.3 percent from the free-throw line. They held New York to 97 points per game and under 40 percent shooting from the field, including 34.2 percent from beyond the arc. The two teams put up around 85-86 shots per game.

Facing the Wizards, the Sixers offense dominated a five-game series win. Philly averaged 124 points per game, shooting 51 percent on over 89 shots per game, 37.7 percent from 3, while only hitting just over 70 percent of foul shots. Washington averaged 110 per game on over 89 shots, converting at 45.8 percent, including under 30 percent from 3-point land on just over 24 attempts per game.

Much of the 1-8 matchup was spent inside the arc. Pullups and drives were aplenty. The series produced the least three-point attempts of any series and the most free throws. The Sixers also played a faster-paced series against the up-tempo Wizards, while the Hawks and Knicks were more physical and possession-conscious. Atlanta’s highest scoring game (113 in Gm 4) was less than the Sixers’ lowest-scoring game (114 in Gm 4).

Series Prices and Futures

Despite the questionable status of Embiid, and the national prognosticators, the top-seeded Sixers are favorites to win and advance to the Conference Finals for the first time in 20 years. Here are the prices for the Eastern Conference Semifinals:

Sixers -190 -200 -188 -188 -200 -180
Hawks +155 +160 +152 +155 +160 +160


Here are the prices to win the Eastern Conference:

Sixers +450 +400 +500 +450 n/a +500
Hawks +1400 +1700 +1600 +1200 n/a +1600


Here are the prices to win the NBA Finals: 

Sixers +1000 +1000 +1200 +1000 +1000 +1000
Hawks +3000 +3300 +3500 +3500 +2800 +3500


Bettor’s Edge

Players have done well in the playoffs (so far) with the totals on games. The Sixers’ hit the over in all four of their wins. They did so with less three-pointers attempted by both sides. The Hawks will probably try more pull-up threes to take advantage of their strong guard play and not challenge Philly’s inside length. However, the Sixers defended Washington’s Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal well over five games. Those overs should look tempting. Game 1 has a total of 220.5. 

All major books have the Sixers a 2.5-point favorite for Game 1. As the series goes on, Embiid’s status will be a substantial line mover. This should give players impetus to hold onto their money and maybe bet gameday when the injury reports give more insight as to whether the All-Star center will play. 

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