Wednesday NBA Betting Guide: Can the 76ers Get Two in a Row?
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
I know one thing about Game 5: Marcus Morris will need to change his hand gestures from 3-0 to 3-1. My colleagues, however, know a good deal more than that. While I attempt to come up with a betting line for a potential Joel Embiid vs. Terry Rozier fight, take a look at what people who use their brains for smart things have to say about another potential series-clincher. — Mark Gallant
All info as of Wednesday morning. Check back throughout the day and keep an eye on our Twitter handle for any updates.
GAME 5: PHILADELPHIA 76ERS AT BOSTON CELTICS (-1) | O/U: 204
Boston Leads 3-1
8 p.m. ET | TNT
What the metrics say: I tweeted before Game 4 that Philly had been very unlucky shooting in this series.
I think there’s a lot more luck that goes into an NBA playoff series than you might think. Look at the shooting in the Boston-Philly series:
Celtics on open shots (defender 4-6 ft away): 45.7%
76ers on open shots: 25.7%
— Bryan Mears (@bryan_mears) May 7, 2018
So did the 76ers finally have some positive regression and that’s why they won? Actually, not really. In fact, the 76ers hit just two of their nine “open” (defender 4 to 6 feet away) 3-pointers in Game 4. They were still a bit unlucky, although they were helped by the Celtics, who had been crazy-hot shooting in this series, hitting just four of their 13 “open” attempts. Philly overall still shot it terribly, posting an atrocious 44.1% effective field-goal rate. The 76ers won by not turning the ball over (they had a low 10.5% turnover rate), which has been a huge problem all year, and by hitting the glass. Philly grabbed a whopping 32.2% of its misses, and it was a team effort in that regard: Embiid and Dario Saric each grabbed 10% or more of Philly’s misses while on the floor, and hero T.J. McConnell even got in on the party. If Philly is going to continue to shoot so poorly, dominating the glass is a good way to neutralize that weakness. — Bryan Mears
What Locky is betting: I’m starting to think that during the entire offseason we’ll still be waiting for Philadelphia to somehow win this series. The prices in the market have been so disrespectful to Boston from the very beginning, ballooning to almost -500 on Philadelphia before the tip of Game 1. I’ll freely admit I was someone who thought this series was going the distance, and if it wasn’t, it was because the Sixers won it at home in Game 6. Obviously that hasn’t happened. Consider the idea that a team coming back from 3-0 has never happened in NBA history, and yet the betting market has the Sixers just +500 to accomplish it. They won Game 4. Now consider the idea that the Celtics, 6-0 ATS at home in the playoffs, who won Games 1 and 2 at home against this same Sixers team, should open as DOGS in Game 5? Disrespect to the maximum.
As someone still holding my Sixers series ticket and my series-over-5.5-games ticket, I am sort of recusing myself from having any more of a position on any side here. But what I will say is that if you are just arriving at this series, or have no position at all, you could do worse than betting Celtics moneyline. Their role players, specifically Rozier, play so much better at home it’s insane.
My handicap of the Sixers in the series relied on the fact that they’d be such dominant home favorites and had to steal only one game on the road, where they’d always be close to a pick ’em or even a small favorite. That sequence is no longer in play with Philadelphia blowing Game 3, and the Sixers as a road favorite in that building are something else entirely. McConnell got the better of “Road Terry Rozier” (Terry Road-zier?), but the home version might as well be LeBron in comparison. If you don’t yet have a dog in the fight, Boston ML has to have at least a tiny bit of value. — Ken Barkley
Trend No. 1 to know: If the Celtics close as underdogs at home vs. the Sixers, the C’s could become the third team over the past 20 years to win a playoff series as an underdog in every single one of its wins, joining the 2011 Hawks, who beat the Magic in six games, and the 2007 Warriors, who beat the Mavericks in six games. Atlanta and Golden State accomplished the feat in the first round, while Boston, as the lower seed, is trying to accomplish the feat with a trip to the Eastern Conference finals on the line. — Evan Abrams
Trend No. 2 to know: The Celtics enter Game 5 6-0 ATS at home this postseason. If Boston beats Philly to advance to the Eastern Conference finals, it would become the 10th team to enter the third round undefeated against the spread at home since 1990. Nine of the 10 teams were eliminated in the conference finals; the 2011 Mavericks were the lone team to advance. They won the NBA championship that year. — Evan Abrams
Trend No. 3 to know: Since 2005, teams that have entered Game 5 having lost three of the previous four games in the series have gone 34-51 straight-up but 44-37-4 ATS. — John Ewing
Trend No. 4 to know: Since 2005, Philly is the 20th team to start a series 0-3 and win Game 4. Of the 19 previous teams that avoided being swept, 14 of them had their seasons end in Game 5 (9-8-2 ATS). — John Ewing
Top photo: Joel Embiid and Marcus Morris