Much to the dismay of 76ers fans, we will be celebrating Mother’s Day with the two best words in sports: Game 7. After escaping Philadelphia with a 95-86 win in Game 6, the Boston Celtics are the betting favorites to beat their longtime rivals and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Read on for in-depth analysis of this Game 7 matchup between the 76ers and Celtics, including a betting prediction, odds, key matchups and starting lineups.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics Game 7 Prediction
After a dominant win on the road in Game 5, the 76ers looked like a completely different team in Game 6. The same could have been said about the Celtics earlier in the series.
Both teams in this series have at times looked either unbeatable or unwatchable, which makes handicapping Game 7 a difficult task.
It’s natural to have some recency bias and lean towards the Celtics after seeing the way they closed out Game 6, but that finish was just as much about the 76ers’ poor decision-making and execution as it was Jayson Tatum’s clutch shot-making.
Then you consider Boston’s recent struggles at home in the playoffs. They are just 9-10 in their last 19 home playoff games, including 1-2 in this series.
The recent history of Game 7s also favors Philadelphia. The road team has won five of the last six Game 7s going back to the 2021 playoffs.
Those trends are not necessarily indicative of what to expect in this Game 7, but they are hard to ignore.
If you’re betting a game line in this matchup, the best play is taking the somewhat generous 7.5 points that books are offering. This series has all the makings of a classic, down-to-the-wire finish, and I would much rather be on the side getting 7.5 points in that scenario.
I am staying away from betting the total in this game, despite the line being a ridiculously low 203.
After just 181 points scored last night, the over/under for #Sixers/#Celtics #Game7 opened at 203 on @DKSportsbook. By my quick research, that is tied with Games 4 and 5 of #Knicks/#Cavs as the lowest line of any game this #NBA season. @lineups @DailyNBAFantasy
— Noah Rosenstein (@nrosenstein) May 12, 2023
Before that tempts you to bet the over, realize that those two Knicks/Cavs games in the first round went under when their lines were also 203. The 181 total points in Game 6 might be an outlier, but two of these teams’ regular season matchups finished with 204 and 205 points. I can’t bet the under at a number like 203, but I also can’t be very confident in the over right now.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics Betting Odds
The Celtics opened as 7.5-point favorites at home in this game, with -295 odds on the moneyline. The 76ers’ moneyline odds sit at +245.
A 7.5-point spread is a big line for a Game 7, but it matches up with the lines from the previous Celtics home games in this series. Considering the Celtics are 1-2 ATS at home, it’s a bit surprising the line didn’t come down a smidge.
After just 181 points were scored in Game 6, the over/under for Game 7 opened at 203 – easily the lowest line that either of these teams has had all season, and one of the lowest lines of any NBA game the entire season.
- The 76ers are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven road games.
- The Over is 5-0 in the Celtics’ last five games following a straight-up win, and 8-2 in their last 10 overall.
- The Celtics are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games against the 76ers.
If either team finds an edge from three, that should be enough to win, but ultimately it could come down to which team’s stars shine brightest in the biggest moments.
Over the last two games, the losing team has had a dreadful shooting performance from three-point range, while the winner has topped 40% from deep.
The difference was never more stark than in the fourth quarter of Game 6, when Jayson Tatum shook off an ice-cold night to hit four crucial threes, while the Sixers’ shooters looked like this:
maxey airballed an open 3, embiid missed three of his last four shots (and attempted zero in the last four minutes). but these looks by melton, early in the fourth, felt especially costly against a celtics defense that sold out to take other stuff away pic.twitter.com/dOUXdzEADI
— Michael Pina (@MichaelVPina) May 12, 2023
Three-point shooting is critical for both teams, but it has become even more important for Philadelphia because of Boston’s adjustment to insert Robert Williams III into the starting lineup. With both Williams and Al Horford in the game, the 76ers’ biggest advantage is getting open corner threes from guys like P.J. Tucker, Georges Niang and De’Anthony Melton.
If those guys are not capitalizing, which was the case in Game 6, then the 76ers’ offense is going to struggle mightily. They scored just 80 points per 100 possessions against Boston’s double-big lineup.
Needless to say, if we see a similar situation play out in Game 7, then the Celtics are headed to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Even with the 76ers’ dreadful shooting in Game 6, they still had a two-point lead with less than six minutes to go. But from that point forward, Boston went on a 14-1 run sparked by Tatum’s aforementioned threes.
Embiid only had two field goal attempts in the final six minutes, and barely touched the ball in the final four.
If Game 7 comes down to the wire, it will be decided by which team executes better and hits its shots in the closing minutes. The fourth quarter of Game 7 can create career-defining moments for star players like Embiid, Tatum, James Harden and Jaylen Brown.
One of those stars will have a signature moment late in this game, and the one that does will likely send his team to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Philadelphia 76ers Starting Lineups
Boston Celtics Starting Lineups
Philadelphia 76ers Injuries:
Boston Celtics Injuries: Danilo Gallinari (O – knee)