Sixers vs. Mavericks prediction and odds for Thursday, March 2

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The addition of Kyrie Irving looked like a trade that could shift the powers in a wide open Western Conference, but since bringing on the star guard, the Mavericks are 2-5.

They’ve lost their last two games to the Lakers and the Pacers to fall to seventh place in the West, 32-31. After making the conference finals a year ago, they could end up in the play-in game if they don’t turn things around.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers keep winning. They’re up to third in the East, 40-21 after beating the Heat, 119-96 in Miami yesterday. How will James Harden and the 76ers hold up in the second night of a back-to-back? That’s a big question and it might be why the struggling Mavs are favorites at home.

Sixers vs. Mavericks odds, spread and total

Sixers vs. Mavericks prediction and pick

Joel Embiid has been dealing with a foot injury for a while and his status is continually in doubt before games. In fact, he missed yesterday’s win because of it. Without him, Philly played really well and there’s definitely a chance he comes back tonight. If he does then this could be the perfect matchup for the 76ers.

Philadelphia is 26th in the NBA in pace of play according to advanced stats and Dallas is 29th. The Sixers are built around a center in Embiid and an aging point guard in Harden, so they have no interest in getting up and down the floor. In fact, teams that speed them up, have a lot of success. Dallas isn’t going to do that, they want to play in the half court and the Mavs have serious weaknesses on defense.

On Tuesday, in the Mavs’ loss to Indiana, Myles Turner had 24 points and seven boards and Tyrese Haliburton had 32 points and six assists. Those were dominant performances from a very excellent guard who is likely on Harden’s level, but a center who is nowhere near the player Embiid is.

The biggest question mark for Philly is who will defend Kyrie and Luka because it certainly won’t be Harden and Tyrese Maxey isn’t a defensive stopper. It’s the second night of a back-to-back, so I don’t love betting on Philly, but if Embiid plays he’ll be fresh and the pace of this game is perfect for the Sixers.

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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change