The 76ers last faced the Celtics in the season opener back in October.
Boston upheld its status as defending Eastern Conference champions with a 126-117 win that night, and now the two teams meet again many months later with just a handful of games separating them in standings.
This is the second of four meetings this year between the top-seeded Celtics and third-place 76ers, who have been on a tear for much of the last month.
Philadelphia lost last time out Sunday against the Knicks and now wraps up a three-game road trip at TD Garden. Boston downed the Pistons on the road Monday to get back in the win column following a rare home loss to the Suns over the weekend. Joel Embiid (foot) is questionable for the 76ers, while Jaylen Brown (illness) and Robert Williams III (ankle) are probable and Marcus Smart (ankle) is out for the Celtics.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics Odds
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET | ESPN
Spread: 76ers +4.5 (-110) | Celtics -4.5 (-110)
Moneyline: PHI (+155) | BOS (-188)
Total: 224.5 — Over (-110) | Under (-110)
76ers Betting Profile
Straight-Up Record: 34–18
Against The Spread Record: 29–22–1
Over/Under Record: 31–21
Points Per Game (Rank): 114.6 (14)
Points Allowed Per Game (Rank): 110.9 (4)
Celtics Betting Profile
Straight-Up Record: 38–16
Against The Spread Record: 28–26
Over/Under Record: 25–27–2
Points Per Game (Rank): 117.6 (3)
Points Allowed Per Game (Rank): 111.6 (6)
Spread Bet: Celtics -4.5 (-110)
Both teams have shown faults over the last two weeks after looking unbeatable for stretches in January. The 76ers are 2–2 over their last four with double-digit losses to the Knicks and Magic. Meanwhile, the Celtics have lost four of seven and two of those losses came against the same teams that defeated Philadelphia.
The home and away records for both teams against the spread are not necessarily informative: The Celtics are 14–13 at home and the 76ers are 12–12 on the road.
Boston’s victory in the season opener was powered by 35 points each from Brown and Jayson Tatum, as well as strong contributions off the bench from Malcolm Brogdon and Grant Williams. Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey combined for 92 points, but there wasn’t enough outside help to keep pace with the C’s blistering offense. Smart being out helps Philly’s perimeter scorers, but Boston hasn’t slipped too much with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year sidelined.
Embiid is going to get his in this and most matchups. It’s on Tatum and Brown to counteract his impact and the All-Star duo has been up to the challenge all season. Back the home team, which also happens to be the best free-throw shooting team in the NBA—that will matter down the stretch in a tight game.
Over/Under Bet: Over 224.5 (-110)
This is a relatively low total for these offenses to clear. Granted, both teams rank in the top 10 in defensive rating as well, but Philadelphia games hit the over at the second-highest rate (59.6%), while Boston games do so less than half the time.
In the first meeting, these teams combined for a whopping 243 points with the total set at a lowly 216. The over has hit in three of the last five Celtics’ games and it’s also 17–9–1 when they’re the home team. The over has only cashed twice over that same stretch for the 76ers, though most of their totals have been set north of 230 points. And the over is 15–9 when the Sixers are the road team.
With a pair of top-five scorers, both of whom are averaging better than 30 points per game, and two offenses that are top 10 in three-pointers made, the over seems like a safe bet.
Prop Bet: Joel Embiid Over 30.5 Points (-133)
Going over 30 points has become a rather easy ask for the league’s leading scorer. Embiid, who averages 33.4 points per game, has surpassed 30.5 points in each of his past two games and six of his last 10. In February, he’s attempting his most free throws since November. Embiid got up for the game against the Nuggets a few weeks ago and finished with 47 in a home win. He could be similarly motivated against one of the few teams that have a better record than Philadelphia.
The recent history against Boston doesn’t bode well for Embiid having a monster scoring night, though. He’s only topped 30.5 points once in the last five meetings with the Celtics and Embiid scored 26 in the season opener with Williams out. Still, he has the leeway to fall a few points short of his lofty season average and still deliver for the sake of this wager.
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