Rockets vs. Sixers NBA expert prediction and odds for MLK Day (Buy low on Philly?)

Betting odds, pick and prediction for the Philadelphia 76ers' afternoon matchup with the Houston Rockets on MLK Day.
Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (0) reacts after a basket.
Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (0) reacts after a basket. / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets will kick off Monday’s 11-game NBA slate on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a 1 p.m. EST matchup. 

Philadelphia is hoping to get star center Joel Embiid (questionable) back in the lineup after he went through practice with the team on Sunday. Still, Embiid’s status for this game is up in the air. 

The Sixers have been one of the better home teams in the NBA (14-6 straight up), but they are just 5-5 in their last 10 games with Embiid out of the lineup. 

Now, they take on a Houston Rockets team that was a 16-point underdog against the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, but is just a 7.5-point dog here. Is this a chance to buy low on Philly? 

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Let’s dive into the latest odds and my best bet for this game: 

Rockets vs. Sixers odds, spread and total 

Rockets vs. Sixers how to watch

  • Date: Monday, Jan. 15
  • Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Wells Fargo Center
  • How to watch (TV): NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBATV, AT&T SportsNet Southwest
  • Rockets Record: 19-19
  • Sixers Record: 24-13

Rockets vs. Sixers injury reports

Houston Rockets injury report

  • Tari Eason – out
  • Nate Hinton – out
  • Victor Oladipo – out
  • Jermaine Samuels Jr. – out

Philadelphia 76ers injury report

  • Joel Embiid – questionable
  • Mo Bamba – doubtful
  • Ricky Council IV – out
  • Robert Covington – out
  • Kenneth Lofton Jr. – out
  • Terquavion Smith – out
  • De’Anthony Melton – out

Rockets vs. Sixers key players to watch

Houston Rockets

Cam Whitmore: A first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Whitmore is finally starting to earn a role in Ime Udoka’s rotation with Tari Eason out, and he’s thriving with it. Over his last seven games, Whitmore has scored in double figures six times, including a career-high 22 points against Boston on Saturday. Since Jan. 1, Whitmore is averaging 11.9 points and 3.8 rebounds in 18.1 minutes per game. 

Philadelphia 76ers

Tyrese Maxey: The Sixers star guard may draw the defense of Dillon Brooks on Monday, which will make this a bit of a tough matchup. If Embiid returns, Maxey should still have a major role. He’s averaging 26.3 points, 6.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game in 27 games with Embiid in the lineup. 

Rockets vs. Sixers prediction and pick

This spread seems to be showing that oddsmakers are confident that Embiid will play, but it’s not all the way there after we saw how many points Boston was laying against this Houston team at home. 

The Rockets have really struggled on the road this season, going 5-9-1 against the spread as road dogs, and they are just 4-13 straight up. 

If Embiid plays, I question how Udoka’s team will defend him, as Alperen Sengun is a bit undersized to handle the reigning league MVP in the paint. 

While Philly has not been great as of late (5-5 in its last 10 games), the team is elite at home when favored, going 13-5 against the spread and winning those games by an average margin of 11.8 points per game. 

I’ll take a shot on the Sixers at this number and hope that Embiid is good to go on Monday. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Find Peter Dewey's NBA betting record here (futures included). You can also follow my daily plays on BetStamp here.