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June 28, 2020

What are the Sixers' latest odds to win 2020 NBA title, Eastern Conference?

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15_Joel_Embiid_Sixers_76ersvsCeltics_KateFrese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Sixers center Joel Embiid.

We now know not only what the NBA's restart plan officially looks like, but we also know when, where and who the Sixers will be playing in the sprint to the end of the regular season and, eventually, in their quest to win their first NBA championship in 37 years. 

Currently, Philly sits in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, but will have eight games to try to climb up the standings. They're tied with the Pacers, who they'll face in their first game back from the four-month COVID-19 hiatus, and are two games behind the Heat for fourth place in the conference. However, with home-court advantage not really being a thing with all games taking place inside the Orlando bubble, the urgency to get that fourth seed is likely lessened. Instead, it's all about the matchups. 

That being said, here's a look at the Sixers remaining regular-season schedule, which is the second-easiest of the 22 teams who qualified to take part in the NBA restart — and the easiest in the East. Meanwhile, the Heat and Raptors have the two hardest remaining schedules. 

• Sat, Aug. 1 vs. Indiana
• Mon, Aug. 3 vs. San Antonio
• Wed, Aug. 5 vs. Washington
• Fri, Aug. 7 vs. Orlando
• Sun, Aug. 9 vs. Portland
• Tue, Aug. 11 vs. Phoenix
• Wed, Aug. 12 vs. Toronto
• Fri, Aug. 14 vs. Houston

How each team will fare when they return to the court is anyone's guess, but the Sixers will have the added benefit of getting a (mostly) healthy Ben Simmons back, something they likely wouldn't have had if the season had gone as planned. But with several months to allow his injured back to heal, the Sixers point guard should be ready to go when the team arrives in Orlando. But what about the rest of the team? Was Joel Embiid able to stay in shape during quarantine? Will rookie Matisse Thybulle regress after so many months away from the court? Will Al Horford look more like his younger self? Or less? Will some of their shooters, like Tobias Harris, Furkan Korkmaz or Shake Milton, have some rust? 

These issues are not all entirely unique to the Sixers — each team will have it's fare share of questions as they prepare to navigate this unknown territory — but at least some people think Philly will be in solid shape when they take the court in Orlando on August 1. 

The oddsmakers at believe the Sixers have the third-best odds to win the East ... and the sixth-best odds to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Here's a look at both:

Odds to Win the NBA Championship

Los Angeles Lakers - 9/4
Milwaukee Bucks - 3/1
Los Angeles Clippers - 7/2
Houston Rockets - 10/1
Boston Celtics - 15/1
Philadelphia 76ers - 22/1
Toronto Raptors - 22/1
Denver Nuggets - 30/1
Dallas Mavericks - 40/1
Miami Heat - 40/1
Utah Jazz - 40/1
Brooklyn Nets - 60/1
New Orleans Pelicans - 80/1
Oklahoma City Thunder - 80/1
Portland Blazers - 80/1
Indiana Pacers - 100/1
Memphis Grizzlies - 200/1
Orlando Magic - 250/1
Sacramento Kings - 300/1
San Antonio Spurs - 500/1
Phoenix Suns - 750/1
Washington Wizards - 1000/1                         

Odds to Win the Eastern Conference

Milwaukee Bucks - 5/9
Boston Celtics - 13/2
Philadelphia 76ers - 9/1
Toronto Raptors - 9/1
Miami Heat - 14/1
Brooklyn Nets - 25/1
Indiana Pacers - 40/1
Orlando Magic - 100/1
Washington Wizards - 500/1

Those are pretty good odds, especially considering the Sixers were a much better team in front of their home fans than they were on the road. Recently our own Kyle Neubeck took a look at the ways a neutral court setting without fans could impact the games. He also took a look at specifically how the absence of fans could impact the team's best player, who coincidentally also happens to be one of the players who seems to benefit most from playing in front of the home crowd. 

But everyone will more or less be in the same situation, playing in an entirely different environment than what they've become accustomed to. So there can't be any excuses for the Sixers, right? And would that make anything less than a trip to the NBA Finals a failure on the part of the Brett Brown and Co.? Well, a lot hinges on the process (I know, I know) between now and whenever their season comes to an end. Here's more from Kyle: 

On the Sixers' side of things, winning a title would obviously be the ultimate success. Given how unrealistic that seems at the current juncture, what is worth focusing on outside of that? 

The Ben Simmons/Joel Embiid partnership is the first thing that comes to mind. Sure, it would be great if Al Horford looked more like the guy who tortured them for years with the Celtics, if Tobias Harris morphed into the big-time scorer he's paid like, and if young bench players blossom under the bright lights of Disney World. But the title window for Philadelphia hinges on the two stars coexisting. That's not just being on the court simultaneously — it entails running plays together, making each other better, and planting the seeds of success for years to come.  [MORE]

Needless to say, there's going to be a lot of pressure on the Sixers when the season restarts, largely because they didn't play up to their potential before the coronavirus halted the NBA season, but also because competing for a championship was the expectation heading into the season. And now that it's again heading toward a conclusion, those expectations are ramping back up, even if the team we saw before the break didn't look ready to make a title run. 

But the odds suggest they aren't that far off — and if a few things break in their favor down the stretch, perhaps they could find themselves where we thought they'd be back in October, even if the journey to get there wasn't quite what we were expecting.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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