Let's just say this right now: The Philadelphia 76ers are probably going to list All-Star center and MVP candidate Joel Embiid questionable ahead of every game this season. That's just the way it is with Embiid and his usual maladies, often his knees. We aren't going to write about Embiid before every game, but there's a very realistic chance he misses Thursday's home matchup vs. Detroit, which could be without arguably its best active player in Jerami Grant. Thus, the odds are a bit in flux at Caesars Sportsbook – it has opened Philly at -10.5.
It's probably wise to hold out as long as possible to wager on 76ers games because of Embiid's status. This writer waited until about 45 minutes before Philly's game Tuesday at the Knicks to make a decision because Embiid was a game-time call with right knee soreness. He did play but didn't look quite right in the 112-99 loss with just 14 points (10 from the free-throw line) and six rebounds in 30 minutes.
Embiid bumped knees with the Pelicans' Jonas Valanciunas in the first game of the season and has been feeling it ever since. Not coincidentally, Embiid's numbers are way down: 19.3 points on 44.4 percent shooting and 7.3 rebounds per game. Last year, he averaged 28.5 points on 51.3 percent shooting and 10.6 rebounds.
Also questionable Thursday is backup guard Shake Milton, who has yet to debut with a right ankle issue. He'd get more run than usual right now with Ben Simmons still away from the team.
Without No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham, the Pistons (0-3) look like one of the worst teams in the NBA just as they were last year, which earned them (through the lottery) the top overall pick. Cunningham will not play Thursday, either, as he works back from injury that also cost him the preseason.
Detroit ranks last in the NBA in scoring at 91.3 ppg and Under its team total could be a smart wager Thursday if Grant doesn't play due to a left elbow infection. He missed the Pistons' 122-104 loss in Atlanta on Monday and is probably more doubtful than questionable for this game considering he couldn't even practice Wednesday. Grant is second on the team in averaging 16.5 points per game, along with 5.5 rpg, and led last season at 22.3 per game.
Philadelphia was 2-1 vs. Detroit last season and has won 12 of the past 14 overall in the series. The Pistons are 0-6 ATS in their past six in Philly.
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