Get ready for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to throw down against Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook in one of the most exciting opening round draws in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. Washington Wizards secured the #8 seed via the play-in tournament and now battle the Philadelphia 76ers in the first-round series in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Bradley Beal Joel Embiid Washington Wizards Philadelphia 76ers NBA Playoffs Series 2021
Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards drives for a layup during a 60-point outburst against the Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers in January. (Image: Chris Szagola/AP)

The 76ers earned the top seed with the best record in the east with 49 wins and by holding off a last-gasp surge from the Brooklyn Nets.

The Wizards entered the play-in tournament with the #8 spot, but lost to the Boston Celtics in the Seven-Eight Game. The Wizards blew out the Indiana Pacers 142-115 in the play-in game to lock up the #8 seed.

2021 NBA PLAYOFFS – Series Odds
#1 Philadelphia 76ers (49-23) vs #8 Washington Wizards (34-38)
Philadelphia 76ers -1000 Washington Wizards +620

 

Philadelphia 76ers vs Washington Wizards – SERIES SCORE
76ers win 4-0 +239
76ers win 4-1 +200
76ers win 4-2 +400
76ers win 4-3 +650
Wizards win 4-0 +8000
Wizards win 4-1 +3500
Wizards win 4-2 +1800
Wizards win 4-3 +475

DraftKings posted their series odds for the 76ers and Wizards, with the 76ers a massive favorite at -1000 odds to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals. For their series score prop bet, the 76ers winning this series in five games pays out +200 odds, while a sweep of the Wizards pays out +239 odds.

The Wizards are +475 odds to upset the 76ers and clinch the series in seven games.

Betting the 76ers and Wizards

The Philadelphia 76ers swept their regular season series 3-0 against the Washington Wizards. Joel Embiid averaged 30 points per game in the three victories.

The Wizards posted a 42-31-1 ATS record for the fourth-best team at covering the spread. The 76ers were sixth-best with a 38-31-3 ATS record.

The Wizards were 37-37 hitting the over this season, but the 76ers were not-so great with a 34-38 over record.

The high-octane Wizards averaged 116.6 ppg, or third-best in the NBA. They relied on their scoring prowess to outgun teams during the regular season because the Wizards boasted the worst defense in the league allowing 120.2 ppg.

With a middle of the road offense averaging 113.6 ppg, the 76ers were ranked #14 in scoring, but they had a top seven defense that allowed 109.4 ppg.

The 76ers are +800 odds to win the 2021 NBA championship, while the Wizards are a long shot at +15000 odds.

The 76ers are +300 odds and third-highest team on the NBA futures board to win the Eastern Conference despite earning the #1 seed.

Philadelphia 76ers: Who will stop Joel Embiid?

Depending on who you talk to, Embiid had a sensational season as a bona fide MVP candidate. He averaged 28.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.4 blocks per game this season. Embiid also posted the NBA’s second-best PER rating with 30.32.

Embiid injured his knee in a game against the Wizards in March. The entire city of brotherly love held their collective breath as their star needed assistance leaving the court. The 76ers caught a lucky break because Embiid did not incur any serious injury, just a gnarly knee bone bruise. He returned to the line up after a couple of weeks of rest and finished the season on a strong note.

In the last two years, Ben Simmons disappeared in the postseason. In 2019, Brooklyn Nets fans trolled Simmons by posting “MISSING” signs featuring Simmons’ photo in front of Barclays Center. Simmons redeemed himself this season as one of the top defenders in the league. He’ll go head-to-head with Russell Westbrook, which should be a fun match up.

Tobias Harris (19.5 ppg) is Philly’s second-best scorer behind Embiid. They will need his sharp shooting skills (39.4% from 3-point land) in this series and the rest of the postseason if the 76ers want to win the east.

Shake Milton (13 ppg) and Seth Curry (12.5 ppg) will tag-team on defense to slow down Bradley Beal.

Washington Wizards: Westbrook and Beal, but who else will step up?

It’s time to sit back and watch the Beal and Westbrook show. Westbrook finished the season with the all-time triple-double record after he passed Oscar Robertson. He averages 22.2 points, 11.7 assists, and 11.4 rebounds per game. Beal (31.3 ppg) narrowly missed a scoring title when Steph Curry edged him out in the final weekend of the season. Westbrook averaged 22 ppg against the 76ers and posted just one triple-double in the season opener just before Christmas.

Beal averaged 36.6 ppg against the 76ers this season. He exploded for a career-high 60 points in a 141-136 loss in early January on a night he knocked down seven treys and shot 70% from downtown. Beal was irked the 76ers prevailed.

“Sometimes you score 40, 50, 60, whatever the case may be, but I just want to win,” added Beal.

The Wizards allowed the 76ers to average 127 ppg during their regular seasons series, but they scored less than 107 points in two of those games. If the Wizards expect to win, they’ll have to solve Philly’s defense and actually play some defense of their own. Once the Wizards lost Thomas Bryant, they lost their best rim protector. Backup centers Alex Len and Robin Lopez will try to bully Embiid on the boards.

Rui Hachimura (13.8 ppg) and Davis Bertans (11.5 ppg) have been inconsistent at time this season, but head coach Scott Brooks needs both to step up if the Wizards expect to win any games this series. Bertans is the top sniper on the Wizards shooting a 39.5% clip from beyond the arc.

Check out more series previews and coverage of the 2021 NBA playoffs.

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