By Michael Donovan
Coming off an embarrassing loss Saturday in Golden State, the 76ers return home to Wells Fargo Center where they have lost just twice all year. Joel Embiid could also be back after missing the last five games for Philly. It all adds up to bad news for Detroit, which has lost 11 of its last 12.
Philly opened as a 12-point favorite even as oddsmakers waited on the status of Embiid, who was listed as questionable. Philly was a 6.5-point road favorite in the last meeting between the clubs, a 125-109 Sixers win on December 23.
The Pistons’ already-thin roster took some more hits Sunday in New York as a pair of players left the game with ankle injuries. Shooting guard Bruce Brown, who was handling the ball more in the absence of sidelined point guard Derrick Rose, is listed as questionable after spraining his ankle, while power forward John Henson is expected to miss a week of action.
Detroit was already playing without star power forward Blake Griffin (out for the year following knee surgery), shooting guard Luke Kennard (knee) and point guard Brandon Knight, although Knight could be back Wednesday after missing Sunday’s contest with a strained hamstring.
Those injuries have wreaked havoc with the Detroit offense, a big reason why the Pistons are a miserable 1-11 SU in their last 12 games. Detroit has been limited to 107 points or less in regulation time in all of those 11 losses, failing to crack the century mark four times and being held to 84 points in Sunday’s 96-84 loss to the Knicks.
Oddsmakers have taken notice, however, recently lining Detroit totals in the low to mid-210s. Detroit is actually 5-3-1 to the OVER in its last nine games overall, although the Pistons have gone UNDER in six of their last eight on the road.
The 76ers have also been decimated by injuries lately, but at least hope is on the horizon. Joel Embiid returned to practice Tuesday after missing Philly’s last five games with a sprained left shoulder and is listed as questionable for Wednesday, while Josh Richardson (out for the last three games with a nose contusion and concussion) will be back against Detroit. Ben Simmons, however, will miss his eighth straight game as he continues to deal with a nerve impingement in his lower back.
Philly could use all hands on deck as it licks its wounds following yet another disappointing road trip, this one a 1-3 trek out west that ended Saturday with a 118-114 loss to the league-worst Golden State Warriors. Tobias Harris continued to carry the scoring load in the absence of Embiid and Simmons, scoring 24 points for the fourth time in his last five games, but Philadelphia allowed the Warriors to shoot 55 percent from the field and couldn’t hold on to a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.
“No one is going to punt it around and not treat it as a way to not admit stuff and get better,” said Philly coach Brett Brown, whose team is now 10-24 on the road this season.
Of course, the Sixers have been a completely different team this year at home, going 28-2 SU and 18-10-2 ATS. However, they’ve struggled lately when coming off lengthy road trips, covering just one of their last six home outings following a trip of four games or more.
Betting Pick: UNDER 216.5
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