Sixers and Eagles

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Better value bet to win it all: Sixers or Eagles?

Andrew Porter
July 08, 2019 - 1:18 pm

Our friend Glen Macnow posted a poll question on Twitter today that struck my fancy: Which team is the better value bet to win their respective league's championship—Eagles or Sixers

The odds Macnow listed—which we'll use for organizational purposes (with gambling legalized, you get find similar odds all over the place)—were 14-1 for the Eagles and 10-1 for the Sixers. 

82% of voters, unsurprisingly, are taking the Birds. Let's dig in. 

Case for the Sixers

The Philadelphia Sixers are 10-1 are a very good value choice if you're placing a future bet on a team to win the NBA Finals. For the first time in a long time, there are legitimately 10 or so NBA teams with hopes of winning it all. By all accounts, the Sixers are a top-two favorite in the East, which appears to be shaping up as a two-horse race between Philly and Milwaukee. 

The Clippers, Lakers, and Bucks are the only teams with shorter odds to win the title than the Sixers. 

Philadelphia is entering its third season with both a healthy Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, arguably the best 25-and-younger NBA duo. While the Clippers and Lakers certainly look scary in the West, they'll have to battle each other. In the East, the Bucks will be good with reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and company, but they may have taken a semi-step back this offseason losing point guard Malcolm Brogdon. 

This Sixers will have to gel another new lineup together, but this one—Embiid, Simmons, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, and Al Horford—is expected to be the league's best defensive lineup, with plenty of bodies to throw at Giannis (plus Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle off of the bench). 

While the value for the Sixers at 10-1 is slightly less than the Eagles at 14-1, you are getting a team Vegas expects to reach the conference Finals. The Eagles have six teams ahead of them, in terms of shorter odds to win the Super Bowl. 

The other thing is, in the NFL predicting the elite teams and the bad teams from one year to the next is sort of a crap shoot. With injuries so abundant, things change very quickly in the NFL and nothing is certain. Where in the NBA, usually the teams that are expected to be elite are elite. The Sixers won 50-plus games in each of the last two seasons and their arrow is pointing up. The next step for them is to at least reach the conference finals, which Vegas believe will happen. Might as well take the next step and value bet them to win it all, right?

Ps. You can always hedge if they reach the Finals. 

Case for the Eagles

First and foremost, you are getting a better price. So a $100 bet on the Eagles to win the Super Bowl will net you $1,400, while a $100 bet on the Sixers on win the NBA Finals, will net you $1,000. So, if you want to take a flier, might as well get the better price right?

The Eagles have one of the most dynamic rosters in the NFL, a top tier young franchise QB (who just got an extension and is fully healthy), and a head coach who has proven he is capable of winning a Super Bowl. The best part of an Eagles future is their division, which may contain the worst two teams in the NFL in the Redskins and Giants. The Cowboys will certainly be formidable division opponents in 2019, but Washington and New York should lock the Eagles in for some easy divisional wins. 

The other part of the equation is, all six teams with shorter Super Bowl odds than the Eagles have their flaws. New England has a QB turning 42 years old, Kansas City has players with legal issues, the LA Rams have injury questions surrounding Todd Gurley now and a QB in Jared Goff that most of the league isn't convinced of yet. The Saints lost Mark Ingram and also have an aging QB, the Packers are a mess, and on and on. It's not like the Eagles don't have questions of their own (Wentz's health, secondary, RB situation, etc.), but Philadelphia seems like the safest bet to at least win their division of any NFC team. 

Also, 14-1 is sort of the sweet spot for, teams not-named-the-Patriots, Super Bowl winning preseason odds. Take a look at these, the preseason Super Bowl odds for the last 11 winners:

  • NE 6/1
  • PHI 40/1
  • NE 6/1
  • DEN 9/1
  • NE 6.5/1
  • SEA 8/1
  • BAL 18/1
  • NYG 22/1
  • GB 11/1
  • NO 20/1
  • PIT 18/1

Typically, at least over the last 11 years, somewhere in the 8-1 to 22-1 range is a smart value bet. 

Plot Twist

Bet them both!