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How to bet 76ers futures’ odds after James Harden injury

Philadelphia will be without its star guard for a month, but there’s still value in the futures market with these Sixers bets.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 24: James Harden #1 and Tyrese Maxey #0 of the Philadelphia 76ers speak during the first quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Wells Fargo Center on October 24, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 24: James Harden #1 and Tyrese Maxey #0 of the Philadelphia 76ers speak during the first quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Wells Fargo Center on October 24, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.Read moreTim Nwachukwu / Getty Images

After a disappointing start to the season, the 76ers were hit with another setback on Thursday with star guard James Harden expected to be sidelined for a month with a foot injury he suffered in Wednesday’s loss to the Wizards.

The former MVP missing that much time certainly isn’t good news in the short term for Philadelphia, which has already struggled en route to a 4-5 record. But it’s not all bad news for the Sixers or for bettors, as Harden’s absence could spell serious value in the futures market.

Here are three bets worth making at BetMGM in the wake of Harden’s injury:

  1. Learn more about the BetMGM Promo Code

  2. Check out more of the best sports betting sites

Philadelphia 76ers to win the NBA title (+2000)

This may seem counterintuitive, as the loss of Harden certainly doesn’t make Philadelphia a better basketball team in the near term. But it could pay dividends for this group down the road as it learns to cope without its All-NBA guard.

Let’s face it: this is a team built around two injury-prone stars who have consistently missed time in the postseason during their otherwise spectacular careers. If that were to happen again this year, there’s value in this team establishing lineup continuity early in the year – even if only to better this group’s second unit and overall rotation for when Harden returns.

» READ MORE: Sixers star James Harden is expected to miss a month after suffering a right foot tendon strain

Look no further than last year’s Grizzlies, who posted a ridiculous 20-5 record without Ja Morant in the regular season and looked like a complete team with or without him. Sure enough, when Morant went down in the postseason, Memphis showed some serious fight against the eventual champion Warriors. A lengthy Harden injury late in the year would be a negative for this team’s title outlook; an injury now could help it.

Joel Embiid to win NBA MVP (+1200)

This is a bet I felt was worth making, anyway, as it feels like the market has abandoned Embiid too quickly on the heels of back-to-back runner-up finishes behind two-time winner Nikola Jokic.

There’s no doubt that Embiid has taken a step back through the first half-dozen games of the season, but that’s an awfully short sample to suddenly write off his candidacy after he entered the year as the second choice behind Luka Doncic. Two weeks later, he’s dealing as the fifth option on the board even as he’s shooting a career-best 53.2% from the floor.

Now, with Harden sidelined, Embiid has a chance to reassert himself as the most dominant scorer in the NBA and bump his 27.2 PPG average closer to his league-leading 30.6 PPG mark from a year ago. I liked this wager earlier this week on positive regression alone. Now, it feels like a must-bet.

» READ MORE: NBA Most Improved Player odds: Tyrese Maxey’s hot start has 76ers’ rising star primed for award

Tyrese Maxey to win NBA Most Improved Player (+250)

I’ll admit, I liked this bet a little more a few days ago, when he was still dealing anywhere from 8/1 to 10/1 at most books. Still, doesn’t Maxey feel like a shoo-in for this award?

He already looked like the league’s most improved player through the first two weeks of the season, averaging a career-high 24.2 points per game on a scorching 51.6% shooting as the Sixers’ third option. Now he’ll be the unquestioned second fiddle for at least a month – and, if he shows out, perhaps even longer.

That’s a compelling argument to make in a field that doesn’t have a clear second candidate. Shai-Gilgeous Alexander and Desmond Bane have been impressive so far, and Jalen Brunson remains an intriguing long shot, but this was Maxey’s award to lose even before the Harden news. I’d expect him to run away with this one.

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

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