Who Won in 76ers James Harden, Ben Simmons Trade? Just Ask The NJ Sportsbooks.

Written By Dave Bontempo on February 11, 2022
Sixers updated odds after Harden Simmons trade

The Philadelphia 76ers’ blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets to obtain James Harden and unload Ben Simmons provoked the invariable question among NBA fans and New Jersey online bettors on Thursday.

It’s a back-and-forth assessment that will persist all year and, from a Sixers perspective, hinge on whether they bring home the NBA title.

But in the near-term both teams made out, albeit for different reasons.

Gleeful Sixers bettors on social media and radio talk shows immediately forecast a deep playoff run and title aspirations. This is Harden, with 22 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists per game, complementing franchise player Joel Embiid.

When is the parade?

Sixers odds drop with Simmons-Harden trade

The Sixers’ betting odds plunged as the public’s optimism rose.

At DraftKings, the Nets ended the afternoon at +370 with the Sixers +700, down from betting odds in the vicinity of +1200 one day before the trade.

Shortly afterward, at FanDuel, the Nets shot up to +420 and the Sixers came down to +650.

At Caesars, the Nets became +425 and the Sixers were +700.

At PlaySugarHouse.com, the Sixers plunged from +1200 to +700, but the book launched a short-term incentive. For a limited time, PlaySugarHouse boosted the Sixers odds from +700 to +1000 with a $50 max bet.

Check on it and, depending upon when you read this, it may or may not still be up there.

Anyone pulling the trigger on +1000 Sixers betting odds will feel tremendous about it, especially if odds fall further.

Atlantic Division and NBA Championship odds also on the move

As for the NBA Atlantic Division regular-season betting odds?

Fuh-GET about it. A huge change has occurred here as well.

The Sixers shot to -225 at DraftKings, a few days after they were still +120 and an attractive bet there.

When the Sixers were +120, the Nets were still the chalk. That seems to be ancient now and the Nets were not even in second place in the division at the time of the trade. Nor third. They trailed the Sixers, Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics and are +380 in division betting odds.

Post-season only for them.

While Sixers euphoria reigned, the Nets’ NBA championship betting odds remained substantially shorter than the Sixers.
Brooklyn was still the chalk at all major books to win the title a couple of hours after the trade, although the Golden State Warriors looked ready to supplant them.

76ers updated NBA futures odds at NJ sportsbooks

As for Sixers and Nets bettors, Brooklyn being a shorter championship price than Philadelphia makes the Harden deal fascinating.

How can that be after this deal?

It’s what warrants a deeper look at how each team views the trade.

Breaking down the Sixers-Nets trade

Yes, the initial headlines were the Sixers acquiring Harden and Paul Millsap from the Nets in exchange for Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks.

The Nets will get the Sixers’ unprotected 2022 first-round pick and a protected 2027 first-round pick.

The Sixers want to cash in now, the Nets may be re-stocking for the future.

But who won?

Why the Sixers win

Embiid needs a partner.

He is in the prime of his career and has been on an MVP tear for the better part of a month. But that can only get the team so far.

The Sixers were still only 32-22 at the time of the deal, hardly viewed as a deep post-season threat. And that’s with Embiid playing the best ball of his life. If he flattens out, they are nowhere.

But Harden brings enormous impact. Plug his production into the equation, especially during the playoffs, and the Sixers cast an optimistic shadow.

Harden may also make Embiid a better player. In last year’s playoff-series loss to the Atlanta Hawks, especially a blown 26-point lead in Game 5, Embiid’s shot selection was poor. As the Sixers began choking, he played too far away from the basket. His focus needed to be inside.

Harden’s playmaking ability, if not leadership, may enable Embiid to do that. Harden is close to Sixers management.

That means something regarding one’s intensity and desire to play. Harden may see the outlines of a Sixers championship and a chance to bond with Embiid. He should love the change of scenery.

There is a feeling of transformation.

This has the feel of the Sixers getting George McGinnis and then Moses Malone during the Julius Erving era.

McGinnis helped make the Sixers an NBA finalist. Malone put them over the top in their last championship season, 1982-83.

Suddenly, the Sixers have two marquee stars, with perfect timing. After the Super Bowl, where will major sportsbook focus go? The NBA and college hoops.

New Jersey bettors will crank up the tune….1-2-3-4-5 Sixers. Here they come.

No more Simmons distractions.

Pouting Ben was an emotional load on the Sixers for refusing to play all season. They’ve just unloaded a psychological cancer. Embiid had a definitive tweet Thursday, indicating, at the very least, that he was glad to see Simmons go. The deal is going to let him reset for the final third of the season, and beyond.

Tyrese Maxey-Mizing his opportunity.

Maxey has been stepping up. He’s replaced Simmons’ offense and begun to find his mark as an assist man. It was great for Philadelphia not to lose him.

Why the Nets will be content, if not happy.

Harden’s age.

He is 32. He’s injury prone. His mind was probably not in it. He wanted out. How much longer will he be an elite player?

The Nets probably would have lost him in free agency. Go younger and get something now.

Simmons will be motivated.

Simmons will help the Nets’ defense and want to show he’s not the choke artist people labeled him as last year. But beware, Brooklyn bettors, Ben is sensitive. He may need to be heavily complimented. That’s not a formula in New York, the impatience capital of the world.

This team was geared for the post-season anyway.

The big three of Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant produced the playing time of 1.5 players last year. They cost about $120 million in salary this year and have not clicked. Durant is shelved for a while, Irving could not play home games because he wasn’t vaccinated (that was lifted Thursday) and Harden wanted to be a Sixer.

Brooklyn essentially wrote off the regular season, other than qualifying for the playoffs, when Durant went down in January. How can a team with all this talent enter the trade with a whopping nine-game losing streak? The answer: the Nets just weren’t into it.

Now they can start again.

Drummond is a pretty good find as a rebounder and can help them. Curry is a reasonably-good three-point shooter. The Nets could have done worse.

It’s time to re-stock.

The draft picks, if used wisely, can rebuild the franchise. Brooklyn’s bold gambit to obtain three terrific players has not worked out, even while it energized the fan base.

They also could catch fire this year. If Durant, Irving and Simmons click, the Nets could be dangerous in the post-season.

Dave Bontempo Avatar
Written by
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and others. He writes about all major sports in the booming legal New Jersey sports betting industry. Dave also hosts the Why Eagles Why podcast. Dave is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the Atlantic City International Boxing Hall of Fame.

View all posts by Dave Bontempo