Insider Insight

May 3, 2023

SuperBook Sports Insider Devan Kaney says Philly loves the disrespect

On Monday night, the Boston Celtics were 10-point favorites heading into Game 1 of their second-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers won outright 119-115.

On Wednesday night, the Celtics will once again be heavy favorites.

What says you, Philly?

“There is nothing a Philly team loves more than proving people wrong,” says Philadelphia SuperBook Sports Insider Devan Kaney. “This team is used to being disrespected – just look at what Joel Embiid has had to go through to finally be recognized as the MVP of the league. Even if Embiid plays on one knee, people clearly don’t think the Sixers can win in Boston again. But you know what? That’s okay, because here in Philly we love a good underdog story.”

Not only are the Sixers a whopping +400 to win Game 2 in Boston, but the Celtics are still the favorites to win the Eastern Conference and the NBA Championship.  

If the Philly faithful aren’t willing to accept that their Sixers aren’t better than the mighty Celtics – who, by the way, are down 1-0 – then the series price might be just right. After all, how typical is it that the team that’s up 1-0 in the series can be picked up for +175?

“The vibe is excitement and pride with a sprinkle of apprehension in Philly right now,” says Kaney. “Excitement because any fan of basketball knows how important it is to start a series off – especially playing in enemy territory – on the right foot. That win was huge.

Pride because, for the most part, Sixers fans know what this team is capable of with or without Embiid. They are a legitimately talented team top to bottom, yet everyone doubted them. It was the national media and everyone else thinking they couldn’t win without Embiid. But proving haters wrong is what Philly does best.

“And lastly a sprinkle of apprehension because we know the task ahead, and the Sixers have to continue to play at the level they did in Game 1 to finally make it past the second round.”

There may be added pressure for the Sixers this time around. Getting bounced early in the toughest town in sports won’t exactly fly this season.

“There has been an overall sentiment in Philadelphia that this season has felt different – in a good way,” adds Kaney. “This team is clicking like we’ve never seen before; Embiid has been playing like the true MVP; and beyond that, there is an added pressure for the Sixers to win it all this year.

“They simply cannot get bounced in the second round again if Doc Rivers wants to keep his job. The fate of James Harden and other key players will likely hang on the result of this postseason. And if the Sixers do in fact advance to the Finals and lose, well, I’m just not sure the city of Philadelphia could handle that emotionally after losing the World Series, Super Bowl and MLS Cup all in the same year.”

Geez. When you put it that way, Devan, how can’t the Sixers advance to Finals? Getting there is clearly the trend for Philly teams – as in all of them. But can the Sixers break the streak of being the dreaded runner up?

Wednesday night in Boston could go a long way in answering that question. 

Tonight’s Trio

Three bets worth considering on a Wednesday night

Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics
TD Garden – Boston, MA
8:00 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Boston -7.5

This number is eye-popping. The team that is down 0-1 in the series, having lost Game 1 on their home court, is a big favorite? That seems odd.

Granted, the 76ers could be playing without Joel Embiid. Not having the freshly crowned Most Valuable Player in the lineup is a big blow for Philadelphia. But the center wasn’t in the lineup for the opener, either.

In that game, James Harden carried the Sixers. He poured in 45 points, leading Philly to a 119-115 upset.

Can he do that again? Probably not. But can he help keep the game close? That’s another question.

Boston has only beaten Philadelphia by 10-plus points one time in their last 10 head-to-head matchups. That’s a pretty telling trend.

The 76ers are 6-0-1 against the spread (ATS) ATS in their last seven games overall. So that bodes well.

Expect the Celtics best effort, but Philly will do their part to hang around in this game to try and take a 2-0 series lead. Look for another close game in Boston.

Jason Schlefsky’s pick: Philadelphia +7.5 (-110)


New Jersey Devils at Carolina Hurricanes
PNC Arena – Raleigh, NC
7:00 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Carolina -120

Rest could play a huge role in the opening game of this series. The Devils are fresh off an emotional Game 7 win against the Rangers, dispatching of New York on Monday night. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes discarded the Islanders last Friday, giving them five days between games.

It’s the classic debate about momentum and rust, tired legs and rest. It’ll make for an interesting storyline in Game 1.

Carolina will go with Frederik Andersen in net tonight. His only appearance during the first round came in the series clincher, as he allowed just one goal in the Hurricanes victory in Game 6. Andersen is 7-2 during his career against New Jersey, with a .971 save percentage in those games.

He will have to be that good in this one, as well. The Canes are a strong defensive team, something they’ll have to maintain throughout the series. The Devils are a better offensively, so slowing down New Jersey will be their No. 1 goal.

During the regular season, these teams were nearly dead even. The Hurricanes are hosting tonight based on a single overtime loss. They finished the year with a 52-21-9 mark, while the Devils were 52-22-8. That’s a razor-thin margin.

Look for a close game, with Carolina pulling away in the third period. That’s when their extra time off will pay the biggest dividends.

Norm LaChatlier’s pick: Carolina M/L (-120)


Los Angeles Angels at St. Louis Cardinals
Busch Stadium – St. Louis, MO
7:45 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Los Angeles -155

This game features two of the season’s early surprises. The Angels are a pleasant one, boasting a winning record (16-14) more than a month into the season. The Cardinals, however, are a disappointment, sitting 10 games below .500 (10-20) at this stage.

These trends continued in the series opener. Los Angeles got the better of St. Louis last night, winning 5-1.

Tonight, the Halos have a big advantage, giving them a great chance to keep their winning ways rolling. Shohei Ohtani is on the mound.

The righthander is a perfect 4-0 on the season, boasting a 1.85 ERA. The Angels have won all five of his starts. In four of those games, he’s allowed one run or less.

The Cardinals counter with Miles Mikolas. Their righthander is 1-1 on the year, with a 5.97 ERA.

Advantage, Los Angeles.

The Angels have won two in a row, while the Cardinals have dropped four straight. During that losing streak, St. Louis has been outscored 19-7. They’re not pitching well, nor are they hitting.

That doesn’t bode well given who they’re facing tonight. Look for Ohtani to continue his fantastic start to the season, extending the early misery for the Cards.

Richard DeMala’s pick: Los Angeles M/L (-140)

Around the Nation

Things we’ve learned this week

Lobbying works
After finishing second the last two years, Joel Embiid has spent plenty of time campaigning for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award. The Sixers center has let it be known that he felt slighted by the voters, making his case for the league’s most-coveted individual award. The efforts paid off, as Embiid ran away with the 2022-23 MVP, dethroning Nikola Jokic as the league’s top player.


Getting the band back together
It’s a reunion in New York. Not only is Aaron Rodgers being reunited with Nathaniel Hackett, as the former Packers quarterback and offensive coordinator will now be filling those same roles for the Jets, but another name is making the jump from Green Bay. Randall Cobb, the long-time Packers wide receiver, has signed with the Jets, giving Rodgers a familiar face in the huddle.