The Daily Sweat: Without Joel Embiid, the 76ers will have a bigger challenge vs. Wizards

·5 min read

Joel Embiid is a great player for the Philadelphia 76ers ... (wait for it) ... 

When healthy. 

The last part is attached to practically any conversation regarding Embiid. He has dealt with injuries his entire career, and the latest one doesn't come at the best time for the 76ers. 

Embiid has been ruled out of Tuesday's Game 5 against the Washington Wizards with a meniscus tear in his right knee. 

The Wizards are 6-point underdogs at BetMGM, which seems high given how they played in Game 4 with Embiid out most of the game. The 76ers are a different team without Embiid, which shouldn't be a surprise. They were 39-12 in the regular season with Embiid and 10-11 without him. They won the first three games of the series against the Wizards without him and lost when he missed most of Game 1. 

Philadelphia is capable of beating the Wizards without Embiid, but it's clearly a lot more difficult. Washington was very good against the spread for the final few weeks of the regular season and covered in Game 1 against the 76ers. Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal are capable of keeping it close with Embiid in street clothes. 

The 76ers aren't in real danger of losing the series — no NBA team has ever lost a series after leading 3-0 — but it might be tougher than expected until Embiid comes back. 

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is expected to miss Game 5. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is expected to miss Game 5. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Here's a first look at Wednesday's betting slate: 

Knicks try to stay alive

The New York Knicks were a great story heading into the playoffs, but the Atlanta Hawks didn't care.

The Hawks have played very well, aside from a long cold stretch in Game 2 that allowed the Knicks to win that game. Atlanta leads the series 3-1. The Hawks have played so well, it's not too crazy to wonder if they can give the 76ers a hard time in the second round. 

They need to advance first. New York does come home and they're 1.5-point favorites in Game 5. The Hawks are still -1100 to win the series, but the Knicks seem like a decent bet to keep the series going. 

Who will win out West? 

The Utah Jazz-Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers-Dallas Mavericks series changed a lot when they traveled to the lower seeds. The Jazz and Clippers both took Games 3 and 4 on the road. The Jazz, who lost Game 1, are in full control of the series at 3-1. The Clippers went from being buried down 0-2 to evening up the series. They're now -400 favorites at BetMGM to win the series. 

The Jazz are 9.5-point favorites on Tuesday night and the Clippers are 7-point favorites. The underdogs feel like the right side in each game because of the large spreads, but the results of both series seem pretty easy to call. 

What are we betting on this afternoon? 

There are four MLB games in the afternoon, with a few interesting matchups. The Padres are a good team, but they're not going to get many innings from starter Dinelson Lamet, who the team is bringing along slowly from an elbow injury. The Cubs will counter with Adbert Alzolay, who is having a good season. The Cubs, who have been one of the hottest teams in baseball lately, seem like the right side. 

It could also be worth backing the New York Mets, a much better team than the ice-cold Arizona Diamondbacks, who will have slumping starter Madison Bumgarner (14 runs, 11 earned in 10 innings over his last two starts) on the hill. 

The Avalanche try to stay hot

The Colorado Avalanche have won all five of their playoff games, and they look like the best team in the NHL. Coming off Sunday's shocking 7-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of the series, the Avs are big favorites again. Vegas is a good team and perhaps they were flat after the Minnesota Wild stretched their first-round series to seven games. Given the odds, Vegas is worth a shot after it was embarrassed in Game 1. 

In the other game on Wednesday, the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens are coming off upset wins in the first round. Winnipeg is the favorite for Game 1, which makes sense after the Canadiens used a lot of energy coming back from 3-1 down to the Toronto Maple Leafs to win that series. 

Who cashed tickets on Tuesday? 

The Phoenix Suns. We might be able to stop there. The Suns' dominant win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 gives them a 3-2 series lead and puts the Lakers on the brink of elimination. 

The Denver Nuggets won a great double-overtime Game 5, with Damian Lillard going off for 55 points and getting no help from his teammates. This series always felt like it would go seven games, and it's still tracking that way. The Brooklyn Nets also won and covered against the Boston Celtics to move on to the second round. 

In the NHL, the only game featured the Tampa Bay Lightning taking a 2-0 series lead over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Lightning won it all last year and are turning it on during the playoffs. 

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