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Bucks vs. 76ers odds, prediction: Is Philadelphia overvalued in its home opener?

The Sixers were a bad bet at home last season. Don’t expect that to change against Milwaukee on Thursday

Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (right) celebrates after a making a 3-pointer against Giannis Antetokounmpo (left) and the Milwaukee Bucks during a game last season. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (right) celebrates after a making a 3-pointer against Giannis Antetokounmpo (left) and the Milwaukee Bucks during a game last season. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)Read moreTimothy Nwachukwu / Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers have to be wondering who they ticked off in the NBA’s scheduling department.

After opening the season at the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics on Tuesday, the Sixers return home Thursday to face the team that won the previous Eastern Conference title (on the way to an NBA crown): the Milwaukee Bucks.

Both squads come into this contest in search of their first victory of the 2022-23 season, albeit under different circumstances: Philadelphia came up short in Boston on Tuesday, while Milwaukee joins the Los Angeles Clippers as the only two teams that have yet to take the court.

With a game under their belt, do the 76ers have an edge? Or does the situation favor a very well-rested Bucks crew? Here’s how we’re betting Thursday’s Bucks vs. 76ers battle from Wells Fargo Center.

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Bucks vs. 76ers Prediction

  1. Bucks +4 (at FanDuel)

Bucks vs. 76ers Prediction: Analysis

Philadelphia certainly did enough offensively to knock off the Celtics on Tuesday. The 76ers made exactly half of their field goals (40 of 89); they made 13 3-pointers (on 34 attempts); they knocked down 24 of 28 free throws; and their top four players scored in double figures, led by James Harden (35) and Joel Embiid (26).

So what went wrong for Philly? Terrible transition defense.

Boston had a 24-2 edge in fastbreak points on the way to a 126-117 win as a 3-point home favorite. Now cut to Sixers fans rolling their eyes. Because it’s precisely what they saw last year, when Philly ranked 28th in the NBA in fastbreak points allowed at 14.8 per game. Only the Lakers (15.0) and Rockets (15.8) were worse.

Now here comes Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, who finished 11th in fastbreak scoring in 2021-22. They also finished with a winning record against the 76ers, taking two of three meetings (including both clashes at Wells Fargo Center).

Now, the final matchup was a down-to-the-wire 118-116 Bucks road victory. But the fact remains Milwaukee has owned this rivalry, winning seven of the last eight meetings since February 2020 while going 6-2 ATS. That includes three straight wins in Philadelphia (2-1 ATS).

Then again, the Bucks were a dreadful underdog last season, going 6-11 ATS when catching points in the regular season, including 4-9 ATS as a road underdog. Milwaukee also starts the season without injured shooting guard Khris Middleton.

» READ MORE: 76ers vs Bucks player props: Value on Giannis Antetokounmpo scoring and rebounds, Maxey playmaking

Middleton played in two of three games against the Sixers last year and averaged 20.5 points, seven rebounds and 4.5 assists. The one game he didn’t play? The Bucks rolled to a 118-109 win as a 7-point road favorite in early November (granted, long before Harden arrived in Philly).

Middleton’s absence definitely is baked into this point spread — but was it baked in too much? After all, the Sixers were overvalued at home last season, going 21-26 ATS overall and 17-20 ATS as a home favorite.

Take the 4 points FanDuel is offering in what should be a tightly contested game throughout.

Bucks vs. 76ers Odds (via FanDuel):

  1. Point spread: Bucks +4 (-110) @ 76ers -3.5 (-110)

  2. Moneyline: Bucks +148 @ 76ers -176

  3. Total: 225 points (Over -105/Under -115)

Note: All odds updated as of 11:55 p.m. ET on Oct. 19.

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

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