The Philadelphia 76ers (39-22) and Oklahoma City Thunder (38-22) have virtually identical records heading into Thursday night's marquee matchup, yet the Sixers are 7.5-point road underdogs on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
With Philadelphia center Joel Embiid ruled out due to a knee injury, the question is, how much is he worth to the line in the eyes of oddsmakers?
Embiid is averaging a team-high 27.3 points and 13.5 rebounds for the 76ers, who still have a load of talent after acquiring versatile swingman Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers before the trade deadline. Philadelphia has started a smaller lineup without Embiid, going 2-1 straight up in his absence but 0-3 against the spread. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City has been even worse lately, dropping three of four SU and failing to cover four in a row following a four-game winning streak. However, the Thunder have rolled to a 21-8 SU mark at home.
The 76ers may be short-handed here, but they have gone 11-4 SU in 15 games versus Western Conference foes since the calendar turned to 2019. That includes a 113-104 upset of the two-time defending league champion Golden State Warriors as eight-point road underdogs on January 31. In a similar spot, take Philly as Thursday's best bet.
In another notable matchup on Thursday night, the Denver Nuggets will host the Utah Jazz as six-point home favorites at sportsbooks.
Heading into Wednesday's action, Denver led Utah by 8.5 games in the Northwest Division while Oklahoma City resides four games back in second place. The Nuggets will be catching the Jazz in the second game of a back-to-back situation — Utah hosted the Clippers on Wednesday night — and their opponent is just 5-5 SU and 4-6 ATS in 10 games under that scenario this season.
As far as Thursday's head-to-head matchup goes, the Jazz have dropped three of the past four meetings SU and ATS, according to the OddsShark NBA Database, but won and covered the last one 114-108 as 4.5-point home favorites on January 23. That was the first meeting since November 3, 2018.