Only a half-game separates the Philadelphia 76ers (43-21) and Brooklyn Nets (42-21) in the Atlantic Division race, but the 76ers are favorites at -335 odds to win the division over the Nets at +210 odds because the Sixers have an easier schedule, plus an additional game with two weeks to go.
Two weeks earlier, DraftKings posted numbers that were much tighter versus their latest Atlantic Division update, with the 76ers the favorite at -143 odds and the Nets not far behind at +100.
Just before the All-Star Break, the Nets were the favorite at -200 and the 76ers trailed them at +150.
At the start of the regular season, the Nets were the consensus favorites and hipster pick to win the Atlantic Division. The 76ers were actually fourth at +400 odds, trailing the Toronto Raptors (+320) and Boston Celtics (+250).
|2021 Atlantic Division Odds|
If the season were to end right now, the Celtics (34-30) would have the #6 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, while the Toronto Raptors (26-38) would bubble the play-in tournament. The New York Knicks were picked to finish last in the division, but the upstart Knicks shocked the sporting world with a 35-28 record and the #4 seed in the East.
According to the NBA futures board, the Nets are the favorite at +240 odds to win the 2021 championship. The 76ers are sixth on the board at +1200 odds.
Brooklyn: Banged-up and No Harden
The Nets shut down James Harden for the rest of the season while he rests his hamstring, which he tweaked a few weeks earlier and then reaggravated during rehab.
The Nets have a much tougher schedule in their final eight games, including a five-game road trip starting tonight. They battle Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks with a two-game series in Milwaukee set for Sunday and Tuesday.
The Nets head to Dallas to take on Luka Doncic and the Mavericks on Thursday. Then they fly to Colorado to take on Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets for a Saturday night showdown.
The Nets also have two games against the Chicago Bulls, who are on the bubble and still fighting for a spot in the play-in tournament. There’s also a chance the Bulls are eliminated from the playoff hunt by the time they meet.
The Nets end their season with a trio of home games in Brooklyn against the Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, and the Cleveland Cavs.
Without Harden, the Nets are relying on Kevin Durant to provide a little extra offense. Durant recently lit up the Indiana Pacers with 42 points, which tied a season-high. Steve Nash and the Nets might limit Durant’s playing time due to load management in the final week of the season.
Philly: Easy Stretch
The 76ers are the favorites to win the division with nine games remaining versus eight for the Nets. The 76ers won three games in a row and are only a half-game behind the Nets.
The strength of their schedule is also a huge factor. The 76ers face a much easier road than the Nets in the final two weeks of the regular season. They play just one game against a winning team and face a slew of bottom feeders, including the Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons, and Orlando Magic. The 76ers end the season with two games against the Magic.
The 76ers have the second-best home record in the NBA with a 25-7 clip at the Wells Fargo Center. They have four more home games remaining on their schedule. They just started a three-game road trip with a back-to-back match against the short-handed San Antonio Spurs tonight, and the Chicago Bulls on Monday evening.