The Philadelphia 76ers are taking the NBA by storm this season, both from a ‘balling and betting’ standpoint. They’ll try to continue their amazing streak when they play host to the San Antonio Spurs tonight. Game time is 7 PM ET at the Wells Fargo Center.

The NBA odds makers opened with Philly favored by -3.5 and the spread is holding; the total has dropped from an opening position of 182 to 180.5.

Philadelphia (18-7 SU, 17-7-1 ATS) has been a pleasant surprise both in the standings and in NBA picks. The Sixers lead the Atlantic Division by -3.5 games over the Celtics and are -2.5 games in front of the Denver Nuggets for the best spread record in the league. In addition, Philadelphia’s +10 margin of victory is also best in the league, more than double that of second-place Denver.

Elton BrandMaking a Statement

Monday night, the Sixers picked up their biggest victory of the season beating the Lakers 95-90 at WFC. Lou Williams had 24 points for the winners including 14 in the final quarter as Philadelphia turned a seven-point deficit into a five-point lead with 1:17 remaining. The victory snapped a four-game skid against the Lakers and helped them grab the cash as a -4.5 point favorite.

Granted Los Angeles has been struggling on the road (3-9) but they’re still considered one of the elite teams in the league. Beating them—anytime or anyplace—is considered a big deal and you rest assured that the rest of the league took notice. If Philadelphia felt like it needed some sort of ‘validation’, they got it against Kobe and company.

Defense is now the Sixers calling card. They’re second in the league in points per game (86.6), fifth in field goal percentage (42.0) and fourth in guarding the 3-pointer (30.7 percent). Offensively Williams is Philly’s leading scorer (15.5 ppg) but overall they’ve got six players averaging double figures and two more putting up nine points per game. The Sixers are young, athletic, deep and talented and seem to be the perfect team for the truncated NBA schedule.

Wiley old Spurs

We keep hearing about how the Spurs are over-the-hill but Tim Duncan and Tony Parker have proved the naysayers wrong, at least in the past two games. Saturday, in a 107-96 victory over the young and talented Oklahoma City Thunder, Parker exploded for 42 points on 16 of 19 shooting. Two nights later it was Duncan turning back the clock with 19 points and 17 rebounds in an 89-84 victory over Memphis.

Right now everyone in San Antonio is pretty happy. The Spurs are winning (five straight, 7 of 10) and are getting it done at the betting window (6-0 ATS). As everyone knows, it’s tough enough handicapping the NBA. Now we have to find out if Parker and/or Duncan took a swig from the fountain of youth before the game.

San Antonio leads the Southwest Division by -2.5 games over Dallas and Houston. They’ve got the best home record in the league (13-1) but have struggled on the road (4-8).

New Strategy

It’s evident that there’s a subtle change taking place in San Antonio. A team that was once known for its defense is now among the highest scoring teams in the NBA. The Spurs are eighth in points per game (99.7 ppg) and 12th in defense (93.5 ppg). The scoring differential is a scant +0.31

Head-to-Head

This will be the first meeting of the year between the two teams who have alternated wins and losses over the past eight games. Philadelphia is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 series meetings.

Trends

The Spurs are 4-17 ATS in the last 21 series meetings but the underdog is on a 16-5 roll vs. the number.

The Sixers are working on a pair of impressive trends. Philly is 13-4 ATS in its last 17 home games and 19-7-1 overall.

Harvey’s Take; Philadelphia is the play for me. I’m going on the money line to prevent of the Spurs patented ‘Make it close at the end finishes’. My only concern about the Sixers is the possibility of a letdown after facing the Lakers but I’ll take that chance.

Good luck.