76ers vs. Celtics Odds & Pick: Back Jayson Tatum & Co. In Game 2
Ashley Landis – Pool/Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket against Joel Embiid #21 and Matisse Thybulle #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers.
- The Celtics covered the 6-point spread in Game 1 against the 76ers, now Boston is favored by 4.5 points.
- Our basketball betting analyst Reed Wallach analyzes the odds and matchup to make his pick for Game 2.
76ers vs. Celtics Betting Odds
|76ers Odds||+4.5 [BET NOW]|
|Celtics Odds||-4.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+145/-180 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||215 [BET NOW]|
|Time||6:30 p.m. ET|
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The Celtics were able to take Game 1 from the 76ers, 109-101, with the final tally staying under the closing total of 217.5.
In a seesaw second half, Boston was able to pull away late with its stifling defense and Jayson Tatum’s offense.
Up 1-0, the Celtics are set to be without Gordon Hayward for the foreseeable future. The former Butler star was diagnosed with a Grade 3 ankle sprain and will be out for about one month.
Gordon Hayward (ankle) expected to miss 4 weeks. https://t.co/Skf5xBCM8E
— FantasyLabs NBA (@FantasyLabsNBA) August 18, 2020
Let’s recap Game 1 from each side then look ahead to Game 2 and see how Hayward’s injury impacts the series.
In the first quarter, it seemed that we were going to get the version of Joel Embiid that would be necessary for the Sixers to knock off the Celtics. Embiid notched 11 points and four rebounds, making all five of his shots. He commanded the rock and dove on the floor for loose balls. It appeared that Embiid was engaged and going to bring max effort in the opening game.
However, as the game carried on, Embiid’s energy waned. In 19 second-half minutes, Embiid shot 3-of-8 and grabbed seven rebounds while also committing four fouls. Philly was a -6 in the second half with their star big man on the floor. It got even worse in the fourth quarter as Embiid’s exhausted play — 1-of-5 shooting — reflected onto his teammates. The Sixers looked winded and out of sorts down the stretch.
This was a winnable game for the Sixers. A 13-0 burst in the third quarter gave the 76ers a lead heading into the fourth. Ultimately, though, the Celtics took advantage of Philly’s lack of ball handling, turning the Sixers over 18 times.
One takeaway from Game 1 was rookie Matisse Thybulle, who did as good a job as any other Sixers player at slowing down Jayson Tatum. Tatum shot 2-of-9 with Thybulle guarding him, per NBA.com’s matchup data, and Thybulle was just a -2 on the floor. He is a minus on the offensive end at the moment, but did generate two steals and one block. Philly needs his energy on the defensive end.
It was a weird game for the Celtics, yet even when they fell behind it seemed like one push ahead could knock the Sixers out of the game. Tatum, a budding star in the NBA, controlled this game. He dropped 32 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and went 10-of-11 from the line. He helped pick up the slack for a shaky Celtics offense on Monday.
On the defensive end, the C’s made sound adjustments to slow down Embiid in addition to his gas tank running on empty. They sent double team after double team into the post on Embiid and Al Horford. By throwing hands into the predictable passing lanes, Boston generated 22 deflections. This is part of the Celtics’ strategy, as they ranked top 10 in the league this year in turnovers forced.
Like I said, it was the Celtics’ defense that kept them in the game as the offense cooled off from a scorching hot seeding game stretch. Boston limited its turnovers (seven) and went and made its free throws, 23-of-26.
With more proven weapons in its starting lineup, Boston can withstand the loss of Hayward in this series by producing good looks against a withering Sixers defense.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The loss of Hayward for what could span a majority of the postseason hurts the Celtics, but I argue it won’t matter that much for this series. The 76ers are still strapped for reliable bench players, and while Boston is not deep to begin with, it’s almost a moot point.
The Sixers do not have the weapons to make the Celtics pay for being down one of their best players — despite his reputation, Hayward is indeed one of their best players. The Celtics were four points better with Hayward on the floor this season, second-best of qualified players behind Tatum. Boston will have to dig into its bench a bit, but I don’t see it becoming a fatal flaw in this series.
Game 1 began to feel like a must-win for Philly; the effort was high and you could see that they were way behind on talent. Once Embiid got gassed and needed a breather midway through the fourth quarter, the Sixers’ season was on the ropes.
At the end of the game, the 76ers looked out of sorts and Embiid was so tired he couldn’t even fight for a touch. I don’t know how Philly is going to respond, but after that type of lackluster finish, I don’t think I can trust Embiid to give a dominant performance like he did in the first quarter.
This line is down a point from its opener of 5.5 after the Hayward news, and down two points from the closing Game 1 line? I do not think the Hayward injury is worth that much to the spread and I weigh the Sixers’ psyche more than the injury.
Give me Boston -4.5. I like this up to -6 and think we see a motivated Celtics squad flex their muscles a bit here.
Pick: Celtics -4.5 (-112)