Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Philadelphia 76ers are murdering Las Vegas

Henry Sims (#35) is the Sixers
starting center.  Who?
Last week I wrote about the Sixers putting together one of the worst months in NBA history.  Since then their epic level of tanking has just gotten worse.  Philly's losing streak now sits at 15 games; but it is the manner in which they are losing that is so "impressive."  In 12 of the 15 defeats they've been beaten by double digits, including 7 times by more than 20 (and twice by over 40; the average margin is 20.47 points).

During that span the 76ers are 3-11-1 against the Las Vegas spread.  There's an absurd amount of money that changes hands in Vegas, and the goal of the odds makers is to create equal action on both sides -- the result being that teams usually cover about 50% of the time.  For example, as bad as the Celtics are (20-41), for the season they're still 29-31-1 vs the spread.  Most of the league is within a few games of being even in this category (here is every club's record).

Vegas has been around for a long time, and it tends to know what it's doing.  But in the case of these pathetic 76ers, it can't set a line high enough.

On February 24th the Sixers were an unprecedented 3-point underdog at home against Milwaukee, the team with the worst record in the league.  Philly responded by losing by 20.  Two nights later the 76ers were 4.5-point underdogs at home vs Orlando, the next worst team in the NBA besides themselves.  This time the Sixers got blown out by 21.  On Tuesday in Oklahoma City the Thunder were listed as 21.5-point favorites against Philly, the largest point spread in the league since March 30, 2008 (when the Celtics we favored by 22.5 vs Miami).  Undeterred, the 76ers fell by a 33-point margin.

This is only going to get worse as the Sixers roll along on their quest to pass the Bucks for the top spot in the draft lottery.  When they visit Indiana (currently 46-15) in two weeks we could witness an all-time high point spread for an NBA game.

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