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Philly Begins Life Without Simmons vs Desperate Blazers

Damian Lillard on a basketball court with a ball in his hand

A day after learning they’ll likely be without Ben Simmons for the rest of the season, the 76ers face a Portland squad fighting for its playoff life in the West. The Trail Blazers are coming off a difficult blow of their own, squandering a late lead in Saturday’s loss to the Clippers.

Philadelphia 76ers vs Portland Trail blazers
  • Date/Time: August 9, 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: VISA Athletic Centre
  • TV Coverage: NBA TV
  • Opening Odds: Trail Blazers -2 | O/U 229.5 (Line History)
  • 76ers vs Trail Blazers (Matchup Report)

Opening Odds Analysis

Bettors don’t seem to feel that oddsmakers have adjusted enough for Philadelphia’s loss of Simmons, betting the Trail Blazers up to -3.5 as of Sunday morning. The 76ers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games as underdogs, while Portland is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 as chalk.

Philadelphia News & Notes

The 76ers were dealt devastating news on Saturday that Simmons is expected to miss the rest of the season. The All-Star forward, who dislocated his left kneecap Wednesday against Washington and will undergo arthroscopic surgery in the next few days, leads Philly this year in minutes, assists and steals while also ranking second in rebounds and third in scoring.

With Simmons out of the lineup Friday against Orlando, Al Horford moved back into the starting lineup and had 21 points and nine rebounds in a 108-101 victory over the Magic. Philadelphia has gone UNDER the total by a combined 35 points in its last two games after going OVER in its previous eight — seven of those times by double-digit margins.

Portland News & Notes

The Trail Blazers find themselves in desperation mode after melting down the stretch of Saturday’s 122-117 loss to a Los Angeles Clippers squad that rested Kawhi Leonard and limited the minutes of Paul George. Portland was outscored 12-2 in the final 1:36 of the contest and the normally clutch Damian Lillard missed two key free throws and a three-pointer in the dying seconds, drawing chirps from the LA bench.

With three seeding games to go, the Trail Blazers remain 1.5 games behind Memphis for the eighth seed in the West — and just 0.5 games ahead of San Antonio. “This loss today really hurt. Hopefully, we have the mindset of how important (Sunday’s) game is,” head coach Terry Stotts told NBC Sports Northwest.

One bright side in Saturday’s loss was the continued strong play from Jusuf Nurkic. The Bosnian came within one assist of a triple-double and is averaging 15.6 points in five Orlando games since returning from a broken leg. The Trail Blazers may need that production to continue if fellow center Hassan Whiteside, who missed Saturday’s game with a left hip strain, has to sit out again.

Betting Pick: 76ers +3.5

I’m expecting the rest of the Sixers to elevate their game in Simmons’ absence, at least in the short term, and Philly is still playing for the fourth seed in the East. The Blazers have covered just five of its last 17 games when playing for the second straight day.

Shark Bites
  • The Trail Blazers are 3-1-1 ATS in NBA Bubble.
  • The OVER is 4-1 in the Trail Blazers’ last five games.
  • The 76ers are 8-4 ATS without Simmons in the lineup this season.