Celtics vs 76ers Odds, Pick, Prediction: Game 1 Best Bet Favors Underdogs

Celtics vs 76ers Odds, Pick, Prediction: Game 1 Best Bet Favors Underdogs article feature image

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: James Harden (left) and Jayson Tatum.

Celtics vs 76ers Odds

Celtics Odds-10.5 (-108)
76ers Odds+10.5 (-112)
Time7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

It's time for our Celtics vs. 76ers pick for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Philadelphia reached this point by sweeping the Brooklyn Nets in Round 1. Brooklyn did not put up much of a fight against Philly. As a result, the 76ers are well rested entering this series.

Boston defeated the Atlanta Hawks to advance to this round. The Celtics lost two games in the series and were in a tight battle in Game 6, but the defending Eastern Conference champions ultimately proved why they are the No. 2 seed.

Boston always seems to have the upper hand on Philadelphia, and with Joel Embiid (right knee) listed as doubtful, the 76ers will have an even steeper hill to climb.

Let's take a look at the matchup and make a betting pick for 76ers vs. Celtics Game 1.

Boston Celtics

With the Milwaukee Bucks losing to the Miami Heat, Boston became the heavy favorite to win the Eastern Conference. At the time of writing, Boston's odds to win the East are -240, with Philadelphia being the next closest at +475.

The large gap in odds may come as a surprise, but it makes a lot of sense. According to NBA.com, Boston posted a +6.7 Net Rating during the regular season — the highest in the league by more than a point. The Celtics are the most well-rounded team left in the East.

Boston's biggest edge comes on the offensive end, where it owned a 118.8 Offensive Rating in Round 1, 4.5 points higher than Philadelphia's. Just like Philly, Boston did a majority of its damage from behind the arc, shooting 40.6% from deep.

The efficiency from long range is what led to Boston nearly sweeping Philadelphia in the season series (3-1). The Celtics shot 41.1% from three in those four matchups while holding the 76ers to just 35.6%, which proved to be the difference as each game was decided by single digits.

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Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers took care of business in Round 1. Many figured Philadelphia would walk away from that series victorious, but the way it was done was quite surprising.

Philadelphia posted a 102.5 Defensive Rating in four games against Brooklyn (per NBA.com), which was the best of any team in Round 1. Brooklyn surpassed 100 points just once and was held below 90 twice, proving that Philadelphia's smothering defense was simply too much to handle.

Philly complimented that defense by shredding Brooklyn from behind the arc. During the regular season, the 76ers shot 38.7% from three — that momentum carried over into the postseason as Philly shot 40.6% from deep. It also helped that the 76ers out-rebounded Brooklyn 53-23 on the offensive glass, leading to a second-chance points margin of +58.

The offensive output wasn't all that impressive though. Philly averaged 103.8 points per game, and things will get a little tougher to start Round 2. As previously mentioned, Embiid is doubtful to play, meaning the 76ers will likely be without their leading scorer.

76ers-Celtics Pick

Three-point shooting is Philly's best asset with Embiid out and could help keep any deficit manageable. However, the 76ers' presence on the offensive glass can help turn this matchup and allow them to cover the double-digit spread.

As discussed earlier, the 76ers dominated the offensive glass against Brooklyn, but Boston gotten eaten up by Atlanta and posted a -21 Offensive Rebound differential. That led to Atlanta scoring 33 more second-chance points in the series.

Embiid would normally be relied upon on the boards, but Paul Reed did a great job of filling that role in his absence. Reed had 15 total rebounds, eight of which offensive, in Game 4 against Brooklyn when he started for Embiid.

Additionally, Philadelphia was 11-5 during the regular season without Embiid, averaging 118.4 points per game with him sidelined, per StatMuse. I think we'll see a rested 76ers team step up to the challenge and keep things close, but I would only play the spread to nine.

Pick: 76ers +10 (-110) | Play to +9

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