76ers-Celtics Opening Night Betting Preview: Can Philly Keep Up Offensively?
Photos from USATODAY Sports. Pictured: Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum.
Betting odds: Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics
- Spread: Celtics -5
- Over/Under: 210.5
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV channel: TNT
The first game of the 2018-19 NBA season is finally upon us, and our NBA crew is here to discuss what it’s watching for, favorite bets and betting trends to know for tonight’s affair.
What Moore Is Watching For
The Celtics won three of the four matchups last season. Their average margin of victory in those games was 10.7, with the last matchup coming as the Celtics’ injuries started to overwhelm them. Then, in the playoffs, Boston ran roughshod over the Sixers, scheming out both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, and that was when the Sixers had better shooters in Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova.
Brad Stevens is 4-1 in season openers ATS. Meanwhile, the Sixers are basically starting a rookie point guard with how few games Markelle Fultz played last season. The Celtics offense being a hazmat zone in the preseason has me a little spooked, and I like the under here quite a bit as a result, but Boston has a chance to start off a season with its highest expectations since 2009, at home, vs. a historic and current rival, with a tight spread.
One thing I’m really focused on here is how small the Sixers go when Embiid’s not on the floor, and how Boston responds. Boston’s best lineup is smaller with Al Horford at the 5, but Aron Baynes will get time against Embiid with his physicality. Baynes gave Embiid fits in that playoff series. When Embiid sits, will the Sixers go smallball, and how small will Boston go to counter? Additionally, how Robert Covington matches up with Jayson Tatum will be important to watch. — Matt Moore