Oddsmakers on Tuesday opened the Sixers at around 7-point favorites on the light assumption that Joel Embiid, right knee soreness and all, will be able to suit up for Wednesday’s Game 5 NBA playoff game against the Washington Wizards.
The number is right in the middle of the first two games of this series played in Philadelphia when the Sixers went off at -8 for the opener and -5.5 for Game 2.
“The uncertainty around Embiid playing is baked into that number right now, leaning towards him playing,” Tom Gable, sportsbook director at the Borgata in Atlantic City, said Tuesday afternoon. “Remember, the game last night closed at [Sixers -8.5] with them on the road. There will definitely be an adjustment down if he is ruled out. But the 6.5 to 7-point [spread] shows the uncertainty.”
In other words, if you like the Wizards, take them now. But don’t expect heavy betting limits given the precariousness of Embiid’s availability. He was listed as doubtful when the NBA’s injury report came out late Tuesday afternoon.
“With no Embiid,” said Jay Croucher, head of trading for PointsBet, “these teams are a bit closer to even, but Philadelphia maintains a slight edge. Combining that with home court in Game 5 will make them clear favorites. If Embiid is ruled out, the [closing] line will shift closer to -4 for Philly.”