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Congratulations to all those readers who are not caught holding a Brooklyn or Philadelphia to win the NBA championship ticket. With the NBA trade deadline now in the books, both teams now have some getting acquainted duties to prioritize. And as much as ESPN wants us all to think that there are only two teams in the NBA, we all know better, don’t we?

James Harden is now a member of the 76ers, who paid a steep price to acquire him Thursday. Philadelphia sent Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond, Seth Curry and a pair of first-round picks to Brooklyn for Harden and Paul Millsap, sending 76ers championship odds lower despite the roster problems this has created.

Philly no longer has the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up from last season, the lesser of the Curry brothers nor the four-time NBA rebounding champion. The Sixers acquired a version of James Harden that their fans can only hope get healthy before the postseason commences, with Harden coming off a four-point performance in his final game for the Nets prior to their grand experiment failing.

In Philadelphia he will team with NBA Most Valuable Player favorite Joel Embiid (+200) to give the Sixers what on paper looks like one of the best one-two punches in the NBA, but did Philly suddenly get discernably better than Miami, Chicago or Cleveland, three teams who are not exactly ceding the conference title to somebody else? We have our doubts.

We will have a clearer picture by the early part of next week as to what kind of a fit Harden is going to be for the Sixers, and in the meantime we all have the Super Bowl to look forward to this Sunday when the NBA largely takes a day off.

But by midweek next week as the NBA gets prepared to go to Cleveland for the All-Star Game, we will have a small body of work with which to judge Simmons, Drummond and Curry in Brooklyn and the two ex-Nets in cheesesteakland.

The Nets play at Miami tomorrow night and then host Sacramento on Monday, while the Sixers play host to the Thunder and the Cavs tonight and tomorrow.

How can you make a profit between now and the start of the National Anthem on Sunday at what should be an overheated SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.? Our guidance is below, but we will start by saying that the Phoenix Suns looked rather dangerous once again Thursday night in knocking off the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks by 24 points in an NBA Finals rematch. If you are betting against Chris Paul and his brethren, the most enticing title odds belong to the Heat (+1300), Bulls (+3000) and Cavaliers (+5500).

There is no word yet on when the marquee players who were dealt Thursday will make their debuts for their new teams. Which makes forecasting Friday’s game a little more difficult.

No worries, because the most intrepid among us just factor that in. So let’s have look at how we are going to make money today so that we can put it all on Odell Beckham Jr. on Sunday to win MVP, which will upset Cooper Kupp but not the author of this column, who will never forgive his Giants for cutting Beckham loose.

Charlotte (-6.5) at Detroit: The Hornets made a move Thursday and picked up Montrezl Harrell from Washington for Ish Smith and Vernon Carey, and the immediate task facing the team now is halting the six-game slide that has dropped them back to .500. These teams have met only once this season with Charlotte winning by 29 at home behind nine 3-pointers by Kelly Oubre Jr. The Pistons have their own six-game losing streak to deal with, but they emerged from the trade deadline intact and will not have to incorporate any new players. Take the points (-110) and the home team because Charlotte is struggling and is facing a Pistons team that is 12-11-0 ATS as a home ‘dog.

Cleveland (-7.5) at Indiana: You will not find us throwing any shade over the remainder of the season at the Cavs, who made their big move early and acquired Caris LeVert from the Pacers. That means LeVert gets an alumni game tonight after he went for 11 points in his Cleveland debut. Indiana just moved Domantas Sabonis to the Sacramento Kings and will be working in Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield. The Cavs have a massive size advantage that they should exploit to win by at least eight (-105).

Oklahoma City (+13) at Philadelphia: If Harden plays, he will go up against his original NBA team, the franchise that asked him to sacrifice his stats to be a Sixth Man and then asked him to sacrifice his wallet and accept a long-term contract befitting a bench player. Harden still remembers what Oklahoma City let get away after they had a fearsome foursome of Kevin Durant, himself, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, and he will want to send a message to the Thunder that he hasn’t forgotten. But since we do not yet know if he will play, that gets tricky. Stay away for now.

San Antonio (+8) at Atlanta: The Spurs have only two quality victories since 2022 began, defeating Boston and Chicago. They traded away Thaddeus Young in a deal that netted them Goran Dragic, who is expected to be bought out, and sent Derrick White to Boston and received Josh Richardson. That leaves them without two rotation players that they have been rolling with, and they will be facing a Hawks team that stood pat at the deadline despite losing three of their last five. The Spurs are more than capable of covering, so take the points (-110) and parlay it with Trae Young going over 28.5 points (+100). He shot 14-for-22 and scored 31 the last time these teams faced off.

Denver (+6) at Boston: The Celtics added Daniel Theis from Houston and White from San Antonio and dealt Richardson to San Antonio, which were sort of under-the-radar deals on a day when everyone was focused on the major deal that sent Harden packing from Brooklyn. Boston is 2-0-1 against the spread as a home favorite and have won six in a row, so give the points (-110) and brace yourself for Nikola Jokic being a one-man show again. The Celtics have enough to overcome anything he does.

Minnesota (+4) at Chicago: We were fairly enamored with the Wolves before they went into Sacramento two nights ago and lost to that train wreck by 13 points. Believe it or not, the safe play here is the over (-110) because Minny has gone there 14 times in 17 games. Yes, 240.5 is one of the highest lines we have seen all season, but sharps are getting fat on these guys and their matador defense. Odds are that Chicago flirts with its highest point total of the season: 133 (accomplished three times). Minnesota is 33-22-0 on over/unders, second only to Miami (34-33-0). Chicago is 30-23-1 on over/unders.

Orlando (+13.5 at Utah): The Magic opened their four-game Western swing with a victory at Portland but now return to an arena where they lost by 46 last season. Yes, 46. So take the Jazz and give the points (-110) and hold your nose if you have the misfortune of spending your Friday night on the sofa watching this dog. Bad spot for Orlando to try to put together its second two-game winning streak of the season.