NBA

Celtics-76ers Betting Odds, Preview, and Predictions | BetOnline.ag

The Boston Celtics (38-16, 27-26-1 ATS) take on the Philadelphia 76ers (34-18, 30-22-0 ATS) in a star-studded showdown tonight. It’s a matchup of two MVP hopefuls — Joel Embiid and Jayson Tatum — and a rematch of the first game of the season which the Celtics won 126-117. Boston is coming off a win in Detroit, while Philadelphia won 9 of their last 10 before falling to the Knicks on Sunday. According to online sportsbook betonline.ag, the Celtics are 4 point favorites.

Point Spread: Boston Celtics -4

O/U: 225.5 points

ML: Celtics -175, 76ers +155

Injury Reports

Jaylen Brown and Luke Kornet are both available after missing Monday’s game in Detroit. Starting big men Robert Williams III (left anke) and Al Horford (right knee swelling) are both questionable for tonight. If either of them can’t go, expect minutes for Blake Griffin tonight. Marcus Smart (ankle) is still out, and it appears he may not return before the All-Star break.

The Sixers only have one name on their injury report, and it’s a big one. Joel Embiid (foot) will be a game-time decision. Given the scope of this game and the three days of rest he’s had since the team’s last game, it seems likely he will play barring any increased discomfort.

Celtics Projected Starters

PG: Derrick White

SG: Jaylen Brown

SF: Jayson Tatum

PF: Al Horford

C: Robert Williams III

76ers Projected Starters

PG: DeAnthony Melton

SG: James Harden

SF: Tobias Harris

PF: PJ Tucker

C: Joel Embiid

Boston Celtics Overview

The most pressing thing on any team’s game plan against the Sixers is obvious: contain Joel Embiid. The center is one of a select few players with a stronger MVP case than Jayson Tatum, coming off of two straight Eastern Conference Player of the Month awards and averaging 33.2 points (the most in the league), 10.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game. They can’t expect to lock him down, but holding him to his averages still gives them a strong chance to win.

They can also take advantage of the Sixers’ poor transition defense. When the two teams met back in October, the Celtics outscored Philadelphia 24-2 off fast breaks. Four months into the season, the Sixers still hold the 28th overall transition defense. Keeping the offensive game away from half court sets as much as possible will greatly benefit the C’s and help them establish a lead.

Philadelphia 76ers Overview

The 76ers are just three games back of Boston, and can really create a logjam going forward at the top of the conference with a win tonight. It’s been a long climb up for them since the start of the season, but key adjustments to their starting lineup have gone a long way. Complementing Embiid and James Harden are PJ Tucker and DeAnthony Melton, which adds a lot of physicality to the starting lineup and gives them crazy bench depth with Tyrese Maxey as their 6th man.

That depth is how the Sixers can rack up points, especially from beyond the arc. If the Celtics focus too much on Embiid and leave the Sixers’ many shooters open on the perimeter, Philadelphia can make them pay (not to mention Embiid is a very strong three point shooter as well). The team is 3rd in 3pt% and make the ninth most per game in the NBA.

Prediction

This one is going to be fun, that’s for sure. For the first time since the start of the season, we will get to see Tatum and Embiid head-to-head jockeying for position in the MVP race. Whether the fireworks come from that or just the overall strength of these two teams, this game should be intense all the way through. It’ll come down to the wire, but I predict the Celtics will hang on and move to 2-0 against Philly.

Celtics 116, 76ers 114

 

Henry Bova

Henry is a journalism student at Northeastern University covering the Celtics and Patriots for CLNS.

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