Atlanta Hawks forward DeAndre’ Bembry, from St. Joseph’s splits the Sixers defense, which better be better tonight. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Atlanta Hawks forward DeAndre’ Bembry, from St. Joseph’s splits the Sixers defense, which better be better tonight. (AP Photo/John Amis)|Associated Press

NBA: Greg Frank sees better Sixers D tonight, says Nets need a W

Sixers (-1.5) @ MAGIC (219), 7:05 pm, Nets (+6.5) @ TRAIL BLAZERS, 10:05 pm

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

Sixers (-1.5) @ MAGIC (219), 7:05 pm
Pick: Under 219

Sure enough, the Sixers looked like the road Sixers again on Saturday. We’re being nice saying their defense was subpar in the 129-127 loss to Atlanta. They’re back on the road tonight against a Southeast division opponent when they square off with the Magic. Orlando and Charlotte are the two teams not currently in the playoffs in the East that have a chance to still qualify for the postseason. The Magic enter tonight’s action one game behind Miami for the eighth seed with nine games remaining for each team. The point spread here opened with Philly as a 4.5-point favorite and was bet down three points which probably makes sense given Orlando’s current position in the standings. However, for gambling purposes, that line move is strong enough to give us reservations about Orlando. The Sixers are 20-5 off a loss which is second-best in the NBA and with the line at 1.5, we’re almost certainly betting who we think is going to win the game if we make a play on the side. The more intriguing wager on this game is going under the total expecting there to be ramped up efforts defensively from both teams. The Sixers just got embarrassed defensively in Atlanta and will likely play harder on that side of the ball tonight. That would explain Philly being 14-11 to the under in games following a loss. The Magic need every win they can get which should result in them giving maximum effort defensively. Put both of those factors together and you get a game in which the winning team lands under 110 points which puts the game under 219 total points.

Nets (+6.5) @ TRAIL BLAZERS, 10:05 pm
Pick: Nets +6.5

The Brooklyn Nets have been one of the association’s better wagers having had one of the five best ATS records in the association most of the season. Though, the point spreads have gotten the better of the Nets since the end of February as Brooklyn is 6-9 ATS in its last 15 games. For the year, the Nets are still 40-34 ATS which is a mark only eight teams are currently better than. The Nets have remained strong on the road when it comes to covering numbers as they come into tonight 22-15 ATS in games away from Barclays Center. Brooklyn has also covered three straight and needs more wins to lock up its playoff berth. Portland is without CJ McCollum here as the Lehigh product has not dressed for the Trail Blazers since March 16 due to a minor knee injury. While Portland would certainly like home court advantage in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs, there’s more on the line for the Nets in this one and with McCollum still sidelined, we’ll take the points in a game Brooklyn may win outright.

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