Sixers vs. Nuggets: Betting preview, odds, predictions & how to watch

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Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, elft, and Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic struggle for position during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Philadelphia 76ers are in Denver on Saturday evening for the second game of their five-game road trip to take on the defending NBA Champion, Denver Nuggets. The Sixers will be trying to get back on the winning side after a disappointing loss to the Indiana Pacers, 134-122, on Thursday night. Meanwhile, the Nuggets will be looking to do the same after they were embarrassed by the Knicks, 122-84, on Thursday night.

Sixers vs Nuggets Game Info

Who: Philadelphia 76ers (29-14) at Denver Nuggets (31-15)

When: 5:30 pm EST

Where: Ball Arena, Denver, CO

Watch: ABC, ESPN

Sixers vs Nuggets betting info

Spread: Philadelphia 76ers +5.5 | Denver Nuggets -5.5
Moneyline: Philadelphia 76ers +180 | Denver Nuggets -218
Total: Over/Under 228

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Latest on the Sixers

The Sixers are coming into Denver, a banged-up team that just got embarrassed by the Indiana Pacers. Joel Embiid injured his knee but remained in the game. Tyrese Maxey is listed as questionable with an ankle injury, as well as Tobias Harris and Mo Bamba, who’ve missed the last few games. They’re still missing starting guard DeAnthony Melton and key reserve Robert Covington. To say the Sixers are a little banged up is an understatement.

Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, right, tries to keep away from Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

What makes life a little less stressful is that Embiid is not on the injury report after Thursday night’s game, and when he’s on the court, the Sixers have every chance of beating any team in the league. Embiid is leading the league in scoring, currently at 36.0 points per game, and has been, arguably, the most dominating offensive force in the league so far.

While Embiid has continued his dominance, guard Tyrese Maxey has taken huge strides this season and is currently 15th in the league in scoring at 25.7 points per game. Maxey has been enjoying a career year and has really helped the Sixers by becoming the “second star” that they had hoped players like Ben Simmons or James Harden would be to pair with Embiid. What Maxey needs to focus on his improving his shooting. Maxey has only shot 34.4% on his three-point attempts in the month of January, well below his career average of 40.1%.

The team as a whole hasn’t been shooting well from beyond the arc of late, including just 24.1% during the loss to the Pacers. With the presumed return of Tobias Harris, the Sixers should be able to open up the floor and get Maxey some better looks than he’s had. Harris has a five-game stretch where he was shooting 50% on his three-point attempts before falling off a cliff in the last three games he’s played and only shooting 18%.

Latest on the Nuggets

Denver is coming home to take on the Sixers after being demolished in New York, losing to the Knicks by 38 points on Thursday. While the Sixers had a poor shooting night in Indiana, the Nuggets were even worse in New York. The team shot just 40.5% from the field and a miserable 19.2% on their three-point attempts.

Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic, center, goes up for a shot against Philadelphia 76ers’ Nicolas Batum, left, and Kelly Oubre Jr. during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

If the Nuggets are to have success against the Sixers, they’re going to need to get more out of guards Jamal Murray and Reggie Jackson, who combined to shoot 4-18 in the loss to the Knicks. The duo has to be better, and they’re going to need more from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Michael Porter Jr. as well. Porter Jr. and Caldwell-Pope combined for just ten points during the Knicks game.

Much like the Sixers, the Nuggets have two-time league MVP Nikola Jokic on the court, and that can be enough on most nights. Jokic is having another MVP-type season, averaging 26.3 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 9.0 assists per game, putting him right at the top of the MVP ladder with his opponent tonight, Embiid. The Nuggets will need to have the best version of Jokic if they’re to beat the Sixers.

The key for the Nuggets may just be forward Aaron Gordon, who can put up points in bunches and, if the Sixers are without Harris, will be guarded by Nico Batum and Kelly Oubre Jr. Gordon, despite averaging just 13.5 points on the season, is capable of putting up big games and the Nuggets are probably going to need it from him against a short-handed Sixers team.

What to watch for tonight

Everyone will be watching to see two of the NBA’s best stars compete against each other, with Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic having won the past three league MVP trophies and battling it out for another one this season. Both big men are having monster seasons, and while Jokic has been consistently overwhelming to opponents the past few years, Embiid has been as close as anyone in the league. The MVP award for the past few seasons has come down to Embiid and Jokic in the top two.

What the Nuggets and Sixers both need is good games from their “other” players. For the Nuggets, they’ll need much better shooting from Jamal Murray and the same can be said for the Sixers Tyrese Maxey. Murray had nine points against the Knicks on just 3-11 shooting while Maxey, despite having 22 points against the Pacers, only shot 7-17 from the field. Both players will have to be at the top of their games if the teams are going to have a chance.

The last time the teams faced off, just over a week ago in Philadelphia, the Sixers came out on top, 126-121. While Jokic has a huge game with 25 points and 19 rebounds, Embiid and the Sixers came out on top as Embiid had 41 points, 7 rebounds, and 10 assists.

This matchup could be a preview of the NBA Finals this season as the Nuggets have been playing well, and despite being in 4th place in the Western Conference, they’re only 1.5 games out of the conference lead, and they’re still the defending champions. The Sixers, while in third place in the Eastern Conference have a much more talented and deeper team than they have in the past. Tonight, no matter the outcome, will be a chance to see the two best players in the NBA on the court together, looking to show the league why they’re the best.


Sixers 128 – Nuggets 123