Celtics vs. 76ers Betting Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions: Can Ben Simmons Step Up in Joel Embiid’s Absence?

Celtics vs. 76ers Betting Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions: Can Ben Simmons Step Up in Joel Embiid’s Absence? article feature image

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ben Simmons (25) of the Philadelphia 76ers.

  • The Boston Celtics (25-10) are 1.5-point dogs on the road and will face the Philadelphia 76ers (24-14) on Thursday with the over/under at 218.
  • Which side should you be betting in this Thursday night NBA showdown (7 p.m. ET on TNT)? Our experts analyze the updated odds and give their picks.

Celtics at 76ers Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions

  • Spread: 76ers -1.5
  • Over/Under: 218
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: TNT

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While we’re a bit unlucky to have Joel Embiid sit out this national TV game vs. the Boston Celtics, the Philadelphia 76ers are still loaded enough for this matchup to live up to the hype. These two Eastern Conference titans will face off for the third time this season.

Will Philly make it 3-0 against the C’s tonight? Our crew previews how they are looking to be this matchup.

Betting Trend to Know

The Celtics are playing on the second night of a back-to-back. In the Brad Stevens era, Boston is 59-44-2 (57%) against the spread when playing on consecutive nights.

In games where the C’s are underdogs, like they are against the Sixers tonight, Boston improves to 41-18 (70%) ATS in the second game of a back-to-back. John Ewing

Bryan Mears: Follow the Market on Philly?

I think your thoughts on this game comes down to your thoughts on the 76ers right now. They rebounded with a win last game against the Thunder at home after dropping four straight on the road.

That highlights their significant home/road splits this season:

  • 76ers overall: +4.1 Net Rating (8th), 110.6 Off Rating (13th), 106.5 Def Rating (6th)
  • 76ers at home: +11.4 Net Rating (3rd), 113.9 Off Rating (7th), 102.5 Def Rating (1st)
  • 76ers on road: -3.0 Net Rating (15th), 107.4 Off Rating (17th), 110.4 Def Rating (14th)

They’re at home tonight, which is a big positive for them apparently. But they’re also without Joel Embiid, who has been their most important player this season. Without him on the floor, the 76ers have been 8.1 points per 100 possessions worse than with him playing.

A majority of that value has been on defense, which has dropped by 9.5/100 without him. Opponents shoot way better without him, they get to the foul line more and they gobble up offensive rebounds with much more frequency. And importantly, they get to the rim 8.2% more without Embiid on the floor, which is the starkest split of all players in the league this season.

These teams have played twice already this season, and Philly took both. Embiid was a deterrent at the rim in both, and Boston settled for a majority of its shots in the mid-range. In one game, the Celtics hit those shots; in the other, they didn’t. The question is whether that shot profile will change to something more positive without Embiid; they’re league-average on the season in both shots at the rim and from behind the arc, so maybe not.

It seems like Celtics and the over are the obvious positions, but the betting market has been quite weird so far today.

We tracked a steam move on the Celtics overnight when the odds were first posted at books, as well as a steam move on the over. But since then, all of the action have been on the Sixers and under.

The Celtics are 6-2 ATS as a dog this season, and Brad Stevens is 113-87-3 in that spot overall in his career. As a road dog he’s 86-56-1 historically, good for a massive 18.5% ROI. For whatever reason, his Celtics thrive in that spot.

Given the absence of Embiid and how these teams are playing right now — the 76ers have been quite flawed lately, and Embiid being out doesn’t help that — I would lean toward the Celtics. However, I don’t like being on the opposite side of sharp money, so I’ll keep this as a lean for now. Bryan Mears

Matt Moore: Trust the C’s on a Back-to-Back?

Ewing stole my bit.

…. OK, fine.

Beyond the glory that is “Brad Stevens as a dog SEGABABA,” Embiid is out. This is huge for a couple of reasons. The Sixers give up the fewest amount of 3-pointers in the league, but they give up a high percentage. They play drop coverage in pick-and-roll for the most part, which is why they are 28th in jumper-off-the-dribble attempts per game, per Synergy Sports.

The Celtics score the fourth-most points off dribble jumpers per game, and are seventh in efficiency per attempt. They are well built to attack this defense, especially without Embiid protecting the rim.

Their issue in the two matchups since Al Horford and Aron Baynes left has been slowing down Embiid, but Embiid’s not playing. Speaking of, since the start of last season, the Sixers are 11-14-1 (44%) ATS when Embiid sits.

I will admit to being nervous given that the Celtics are in the midst of their first serious swoon this season, coming off a home beatdown by the Spurs, but there’s still an opportunity here for them to steal one vs. the Sixers under very specific circumstances, especially as a dog. — Matt Moore

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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