Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers Prediction
I grabbed 76ers +5.5 earlier today, and it has dropped to +2.5 with Kristaps Porzingis and Jaylen Brown now out. Joel Embiid is a game time decision, but the Celtics still being favored means the books expect him to miss the contest. I am predicting him to play though because it’s an extremely important game for seeding. It could be the difference between Philadelphia getting home-court advantage over Boston in the playoffs or not. Embiid is no stranger to playing through injury too.
Joel Embiid’s strength is a mismatch for Horford. The reigning MVP’s prolific scoring forced Boston to routinely double him on the block in their previous matchup, which led to kick-outs for open threes. Philadelphia secured a whopping 27 wide open three-point attempts, but they shot a terrible 25.9 3PT% on those attempts. It’s highly likely that they regress to the mean given their efficient shooters and rain down threes.
Therefore, Philadelphia’s offense should generate quality looks, whether it’s via Embiid in isolation or clean catch-and-shoot threes. Factor in Tyrese Maxey’s off-the-dribble scoring, and the 76ers have a Robin that can take creation pressure off of Batman.
On the other end, Joel Embiid has returned to his hyper-elite rim protection days. He is challenging everything at the rim and holding opponents to a far lower field goal percentage than expected. His defense will be crucial against Boston’s drivers, especially Jayson Tatum. De’Anthony Melton’s on-ball defense against Holiday is a weapon for Philadelphia too. Last season per Basketball Index’s metrics, Melton ranked second across the NBA in both Perimeter Isolation Defense and Ball Screen Navigation.
Overall, taking Philly to cover is the play here.
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers Prediction: 76ers +5.5
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Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers Best Odds
After losing the previous matchup 106-103, Boston is a 2.5 point favorite here despite Brown and Porzingis’ injuries. Philadelphia needs to win roughly 45 percent of the time for their +122 moneyline to be profitable in the long run. It’s worth noting that the 76ers are 8-2 against the spread this year, while Boston is 5-3-2.
Boston Celtics Starting Lineup
Philadelphia 76ers Starting Lineup
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers Injuries
Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzingis are both out for Boston. Meanwhile, the 76ers will be without Kelly Oubre Jr here. Joel Embiid and Nic Batum are questionable, while Tobias Harris is probable.
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers Key Matchups
The Celtics were already a thin team past the first eight guys, so their injuries significantly shorten an already short bench. Payton Pritchard, Dalano Banton, Oshae Brissett, and Luke Kornet will need to play above their role here and provide Boston with quality minutes. Otherwise, Philadelphia’s bench likely convincingly wins their minutes.
Jayson Tatum vs. Joel Embiid
Which superstar will step up and deliver under the bright lights? Tatum shot 6/14 from the field in the last matchup, while Embiid went 10/20. It’s likely that the more productive of these two will lead their respective teams to a cover.