In Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last season, the Philadelphia 76ers were just a Kawhi Leonard buzzer-beater away from taking the eventual NBA champions to overtime.
Now, one bettor is calling Philadelphia a lock to make the playoffs in the new season with a massive $100,500 bet at -5000 odds. If the 76ers make the playoffs and the anonymous bettor wins, he’ll net $2,010.
Is he crazy?
The 76ers traded away a main piece this offseason when Jimmy Butler, who averaged 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and four 4.0 assists last season, was dealt to the Miami Heat. However, Philadelphia added some pieces as well.
Let’s take a look at the new 76ers squad before passing judgment on our big-money bettor.
This Season’s Philadelphia 76ers
The starting lineup for the 2019-20 Philadelphia 76ers will include two new names: forward Al Horford, who came from Boston, and guard Josh Richardson, who came from Miami.
Last season, Horford averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists. He upped his game in the playoffs, scoring 13.9 points, reeling in 9.0 rebounds, and assisting 4.4 times per game.
Although the Heat didn’t make the playoffs, Richardson had a solid year in Miami. He averaged 16.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game in addition to his 86.1 percent shooting on free throws.
Those two newcomers will likely start next to point guard Ben Simmons, small forward Tobias Harris, and center Joel Embiid. On paper, Philly owns one of the strongest starting fives across the league.
In the regular season, Harris averaged 20 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while nearing 40 percent from three-point land. Simmons offered plenty statistically as well, scoring 16.9 points, grabbing 8.8 rebounds, and dishing out 7.7 assists per game.
Leading last year’s 76ers team was Embiid, who averaged 27.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists throughout the regular season. His average points and rebounds were fourth- and second-best, respectively, across the NBA.
So, while there isn’t a ton of depth on Philly’s roster, it’s hard to see this starting five not reach the playoffs, and this won’t be our bettor’s first time making a call like this.
New Year, Similar Bet
According to Jeff Sherman, vice president of risk for SuperBook at the Westgate Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, the bettor who placed this massive bet on the 76ers to reach the playoffs did something very similar last year.
Before the 2018-19 season tipped off, our bettor placed a $67,000 bet on the Warriors to make the playoffs. At -10,000 odds, the bettor eventually won $670 on the wager when Golden State made it to the postseason.
So, this bettor knew exactly what he was doing when he returned to the same book to place an even larger bet on the Sixers to reach the playoffs. But while our bettor has confidence in Philly, what are the odds telling us?
What the Odds Say
Betting $100,500 to win $2,010 is never a great value bet, but the odds are telling us this bettor will likely be a winner in nine months time.
Right now, the 76ers are sitting at +250 odds to win the Eastern Conference, trailing only the Bucks, who own +163 odds. Those two teams appear to be miles ahead of the rest of the conference, as the closest teams behind Philadelphia and Milwaukee are the Celtics (+650), Nets (+900), and Raptors (+1000).
If that isn’t enough to showcase Philly’s likelihood of making the playoffs, consider that the 76ers have the fifth-best odds of winning the NBA Finals at +900.
Those odds put the Sixers between the Rockets (+700) and Warriors (+1200), with the Clippers (+333), Lakers (+400), and Bucks (+500) leading the way.
So, while this bettor might be crazy for putting up six figures to win $2,010, all signs point toward a winning wager.