Last Updated: 2019-02-12
The Boston Celtics (35-21; 27-28-1 ATS) have dropped two games in a row, losing at home to the Los Angeles Lakers 129-128 and the Los Angeles Clippers 123-112. In both these matchups, the Celtics had some big leads which only proved how inconsistent they are all season long. They allowed the Clippers to come back from a 28-point deficit, and the Clippers have just traded half of their roster.
On the other side, the Philadelphia 76ers (36-20; 27-29 ATS) are looking really good after acquiring Tobias Harris from the LA Clippers, winning two straight games at home over the Denver Nuggets 117-110 and the Los Angeles Lakers 143-120. Harris started to deliver immediately and the Sixers’ starting lineup is looking frightening.
The Celtics will meet the Sixers for the third time this season, and the Celtics have won the previous two duels on the home court. They overcame the Sixers 105-87 in the opening game of the season, while the Celtics needed overtime in the second clash to grab a 121-114 victory.
The Boston Celtics will miss Kyrie Irving (knee) which is certainly a huge blow, as Uncle Drew is averaging 23.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game while making 49.8% of his field goals. The Sixers will be without Shake Milton (finger), but all their key players are ready to go.
The Sixers opened as 5.5-point favorites with the total at 226.0 points and the Celtics at +200 money line odds. Considering Kyrie’s absence, I wouldn’t be surprised if the bookmakers adjust the spread during a day, as I expect to see a bunch of wagers on the 76ers. The Celtics have won three straight games on the road, but they are just 4-6 straight up and 2-7-1 ATS in their previous ten showings away from home. The Sixers are 7-3 straight up and 5-5 ATS in their last ten outings at Wells Fargo Center. The under has hit in Boston’s last five games on the road, and the under is 4-2 in Phila’s previous six games on the home court.
What’s at Stake?
The Sixers are the No. 4 seed in the East at the moment just one game ahead of the No. 5 seed Celtics, so there’s a lot on the table on this one. Also, the Sixers will have a chance to tie the series with Boston if they grab a win tonight which is another motive for the hosts, as they can easily finish the season tied with the Celtics.
The Celtics will travel to Detroit Wednesday night to meet the Pistons in their final matchup before the All-Star break. On the other side, the Sixers will also play back-to-back, as they visit the New York Knicks Wednesday night. The Celtics are 7-0 straight up and 5-2 ATS on the first day of their last seven back-to-back sets. The Sixers are 7-0 straight up and 6-1 ATS on the front end of their previous seven back-to-back sets.
With Kyrie Irving sidelined for tonight’s game, Terry Rozier will start at PG for the Celtics. Rozier is averaging 9.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game, and this will be his 10th start on the season. Jayson Tatum will be the Celtics’ first scoring option, and the sophomore guard is tallying 16.4 points per contest on 45.3% shooting from the field. Still, the Celtics will have to rely more on their second unit, and they certainly possess some quality options on their bench. Jaylen Brown is averaging 15.0 points and 4.6 rebounds over his last ten appearances, while this is a chance for Gordon Hayward to finally put on a strong performance. Hayward is posting just 10.8 points and 4.6 rebounds this term.
On the other side, the Sixers will line up their Big Four along with an experienced sharpshooter J.J. Redick who’s enjoying a wonderful season. Redick is averaging 18.7 points per game on 45.5% shooting from the field, hitting 3.1 triples per contest on 39.4% shooting from beyond the arc. Joel Embiid will be a go-to-guy in the paint, but he’ll have a tough matchup with Al Horford who’s well-known as a great defender. If the Sixers manage to get Horford into foul trouble, Embiid could be a game-winner tonight, so I expect to see a lot of possessions for the Sixers’ big man.
The Celtics will need their best defense here, as they are allowing 106.3 points per 100 possessions (5th in the league) on just 44.3% shooting from the field (2nd) and 34.0% from beyond the arc (4th). Also, they are allowing 22.9 assists per 100 possessions (4th), while the Sixers are making 26.7 dimes per 100 possessions (3rd). Both teams are scoring 112.7 points per 100 possessions each (tied-9th), while the Sixers have a slightly better shot percentage from the field, but the Celtics are shooting better from beyond the arc.
After a collapse to the Clippers, Marcus Morris ripped his teammates for a lack of joy in their game. It’s obvious that the Celtics’ chemistry is far from good, while on the other side, the Sixers look highly motivated after trading for Tobias Harris which is the main reason why I’m backing Philadelphia to win tonight and cover the spread along the way. Another reason is Kyrie’s absence, of course. Still, I expect to see a tight battle. As I’ve already mentioned, the Celtics can count on an excellent second unit that can make some serious damage. If you want to get some greater wages, take any team to win within 6 and 10 points around +240 odds.
When it comes to the totals, the betting trends are suggesting the under. The first H2H duel had just 192 points in the total, while the second had 216 points in the regulation. Also, none of the last ten H2H duels in Philadelphia had more than 226 points in the total. However, the Sixers play at a pretty fast pace, and the Celtics are not far behind, so I’ll take the over.
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