The 76ers have nobody on the injury report and should be at full strength, but the Celtics could be without two key players in their starting lineup. Center Robert Williams III missed Boston’s last game against Utah and has already been ruled out for this game, while All Star shooting guard Jaylen Brown was added to the injury report on Tuesday and is questionable with a back injury.
Brown’s absence in particular would have a big impact on the betting odds and needs to be considered in the betting prediction and best bet picks.
Read on for in-depth analysis of tonight’s Celtics vs. 76ers matchup.
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers Betting Odds
The 76ers opened as slight home favorites with a -1 spread, which is now at -2 as of this writing. Both teams opened with negative odds on the moneyline, -105 for Boston and -115 for Philadelphia. As of this writing, those odds are Boston +110 and Philadelphia -130.
Last time these teams met in Philadelphia on February 25, the Celtics were -1 on the road and they ended up winning 110-107. The best explanation for the different line in this game is the potential absence of Jaylen Brown. Williams’ absence is also noteworthy as it will impact the Celtics’ ability to defend Joel Embiid, especially considering their other post defender Al Horford also missed the last game with a back injury.
The public is not worried about those injuries and likes the Celtics as underdogs. Boston is getting 65% of the handle against the spread at DraftKings and 80% of the handle on the moneyline, per VSiN.
The over/under for this matchup opened at 226.5 and has creeped up to 227. The public is hammering the Over with 87% of the handle at DraftKings.
The implied outcome of these odds is the 76ers winning 114.5-112.5.
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers Prediction
My pick: Celtics +110
This game features two of the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference. Boston trails Milwaukee by just two games for the top seed, while Philadelphia sits three games back of Boston and is firmly entrenched in the three seed.
If the current seedings hold over the final four or five games of the regular season, these teams will be on a collision course for a 2nd round playoff series.
The Celtics have been the 76ers’ nemesis this season, boasting a perfect 3-0 record against their Atlantic Division rivals. Boston also has more motivation to win this game, as they still have a fighting chance to grab the number one seed, while the Sixers’ playoff seeding is unlikely to change at this point in the season.
Boston has been red-hot over their last six games. Over that span they have both the league’s best offensive rating at 124.9 and the league’s best defensive rating at 104.2. They held two of the league’s best offenses in Sacramento and Milwaukee to just 109 and 99 points, respectively, and they trounced the Bucks by a whopping 41 points.
The 76ers are going in the opposite direction, having lost five of their last eight games following an eight-game winning streak. They lost Sunday night by 13 against that same Bucks team that got blown away by Boston just a few nights earlier.
Philadelphia will be motivated to get the proverbial monkey off their back and gain confidence from a win over Boston before the playoffs begin. Joel Embiid could be primed for a big game in his last chance to put an exclamation point on his MVP candidacy on national TV.
This game should have a playoff-like atmosphere and hopefully will be fun to watch, but it’s hard to have much confidence in the Sixers slaying the Celtics at this point. I like the Celtics to win outright and I love that I’m getting plus odds on the moneyline.
That said, I recommend keeping an eye on the status of Jaylen Brown before placing your bets. If Brown is ruled out, then taking the two points would be the safer play.
- The 76ers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS loss, and 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a straight-up loss.
- The Over is 5-0 in the Celtics’ last five road games, and it is 5-0 in the Celtics’ last five games playing on three or more days’ rest.
- The Celtics are 4-0 ATS in their last four games against the 76ers.
Three-point shooting will be an important element of this game to watch, but it might all come down to whether Joel Embiid can put the 76ers on his back.
These teams are two of the most dangerous three-point shooting teams in the league this season. The Celtics shoot the most threes per 100 possessions in the league (42.1) and score 40.6% of their points from beyond the arc, second most in the league.
The 76ers don’t shoot the three at quite the same volume, but they have the best three-point shooting percentage in the league at 38.7%. Boston isn’t far behind at 37.7% (sixth).
Boston has done a good job of defending Philadelphia’s shooters in their three previous games this season. They have held the 76ers to just 34.8% shooting from long range, and only two other teams (Atlanta and Phoenix) have held the 76ers to fewer points per game this season.
On the other side, the Celtics have beaten their season averages from beyond the arc in their three games against Philadelphia. They have shot 44.3% from deep against the 76ers on 35.3 attempts per game. Only Dallas at 45.7% has a better three-point shooting percentage against Philadelphia this season, and that was just one hot shooting night for the Mavericks, while the Celtics have sustained that production over three games.
The team that shoots better from long range in this game will have a definitive edge when the final buzzer sounds.
Celtics’ interior defense vs. Joel Embiid
As mentioned above, this game is Embiid’s last big chance to stake his claim to the elusive NBA MVP award. Last time he faced the Celtics on Feb. 25, he racked up 41 points and nearly made it 44 on a full-court game-tying buzzer beater that was a few tenths of a second too late.
“Unfortunately, story of my life."
Joel Embiid (41 PTS, 12 REB) on his full court after the buzzer shot during the wild ending of the Celtics win over the 76ers.
Tatum (18 PTS, Game Winner): “I kind of had a feeling it wasn't going to count. But it's pic.twitter.com/gFZTWUlnyK…
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 26, 2023
The Celtics are down one of their best interior defenders in Robert Williams III and will be relying on Al Horford to carry the load defensively against Embiid. Horford has been a nemesis defensively for Embiid in his career, but Embiid has gotten the better of him more recently.
The way their games against the Celtics have gone this season, it seems the 76ers need an MVP moment from Embiid to get the victory tonight. Last time, not even 41 points was good enough. What will it take this time?
Boston Celtics Starting Lineups
Philadelphia 76ers Starting Lineups
Boston Celtics Injuries: SG Jaylen Brown (Q – back), C Robert Williams III (O – injury management)
Philadelphia 76ers Injuries: none