Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM

Friday's Tip Sheet

Game of the Night: 76ers at Rockets – 8:05 PM EST

Both these teams own 23 wins, but one of these squads leads their division, while the other sits in third place of its division. Philadelphia (23-13 SU, 15-17-4 ATS) has dropped three straight games to fall behind Boston and Toronto in the Atlantic division, as the 76ers try to avoid a winless road swing. Following a pair of one-point defeats at Orlando and Miami, Philadelphia was rolled at Indiana on Tuesday afternoon, 115-97 as 3 ½-point underdogs, while playing without center Joel Embiid, who missed the game with a knee injury.

The Rockets (23-11 SU, 17-17 ATS) are the leaders of the Southwest division by one game over the Mavericks heading into Friday’s action. Houston bounced back from a 15-point setback at New Orleans to rout Denver on Tuesday, 130-104 as six-point home favorites. To be fair, the Rockets were without stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook in the Sunday defeat to the Pelicans, but the dynamic duo combined for 63 points against the Nuggets on 21-of-39 shooting from the floor.

Philadelphia has dominated at home with a scorching 16-2 record, but the 76ers have struggled away from Wells Fargo Center with a 7-11 mark. The Sixers have compiled an ugly 1-7 SU ledger in the role of a road underdog this season, while cashing only three times with the lone victory coming at Boston on December 12. Philadelphia has won only once in five road affairs against Western Conference opponents as the 76ers defeated the Blazers at the buzzer in early November.

The Rockets have posted a 7-1 ATS record in their last eight opportunities as a favorite of 6 ½ points or less, while Houston seeks consecutive home covers for the first time since late November.

The 76ers and Rockets have not hooked up yet this season as the two heavyweights split a pair of matchups last season with the home team winning each time. Philadelphia last captured a victory at the Toyota Center in 2017 with a 115-107 triumph as seven-point underdogs.

Heat at Magic – 7:05 PM EST

The battle of the Sunshine State takes place in Orlando as the Heat (25-9 SU, 20-12-2 ATS) slowed down the Raptors on Thursday night, 84-76 to cash as 5 ½-point favorites. Miami has posted five victories against Toronto, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee this season, while opening up a commanding 10-game advantage in the Southeast division. The Heat have taken care of business at home with an incredible 16-1 record, while putting together a respectable 9-8 mark away from south Florida.

The Magic (15-19 SU, 14-18-2 ATS) reside in second place of the Southeast as Orlando snapped a two-game skid in Wednesday’s 122-101 blowout of Washington as three-point road favorites. Orlando improved to 3-0 this season against Washington, as the Magic rebounded from a rough home loss as 10 ½-point favorites to the struggling Hawks on Monday. The Magic rattled off four consecutive victories to start December, but they lost their touch since by going 4-8 the last 12 games to slip below the .500 mark.

Miami has not fared well on the second end of a back-to-back set this season by going 2-4 SU and 1-3-2 ATS. The Heat have failed to cover in their last three opportunities as a road favorite, including getting upset by the Wizards on Monday as 11-point chalk, 123-105. Miami and Orlando are meeting for the first time this season as the Magic captured three of four meetings last season. The Magic have struggled as a home underdog this season by losing five of seven games in this role.

Pelicans at Lakers – 10:35 PM EST

For the second time this season, Anthony Davis will face his former team as Los Angeles (27-7 SU, 18-16 ATS) continues a five-game homestand. The Lakers cruised past the Mavericks and Suns in the first two contests at Staples Center, while L.A. welcomes in three below .500 teams over the next five days with New Orleans, Detroit, and New York coming to town.

In Wednesday’s 117-107 victory over Phoenix, the final score was extremely misleading as the Lakers jumped out to a commanding 43-17 lead after one quarter and 33-point halftime edge. However, Phoenix outscored Los Angeles, 66-43 in the second half to grab the miracle cover as 11-point underdogs.

The last time the Lakers hooked up with the Pelicans on November 27 in New Orleans, Davis returned to the Big Easy to torch his old team for 41 points and help the Lakers rally from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to shock the Pelicans, 114-110. New Orleans grabbed the cover as 6 ½-point underdogs, but the Pelicans dropped their third consecutive meeting with the Lakers.

The Pelicans (11-23 SU, 14-19-1 ATS) will be well-rested as they last took the court on Sunday evening in a 127-112 victory over the short-handed Rockets. New Orleans has come back to life following a 6-22 start to win five of its last six games, including four straight victories. The competition has not been too shabby, including road triumphs at Portland and Denver, while also blowing out Indiana at home.

New Orleans is listed as a double-digit underdog for the third time this season, as it cashed in a three-point loss at Houston as 12-point ‘dogs in October, while getting rolled in their most recent trip to Staples Center by the Clippers in late November.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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