Celtics vs. 76ers Odds & Picks: No Tatum is Big Problem for Boston

Celtics vs. 76ers Odds & Picks: No Tatum is Big Problem for Boston article feature image
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Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum.

  • The Celtics head to Philadelphia likely without Jayson Tatum for the first of two games with the 76ers.
  • Joel Embiid is on fire to start this season, and his presence creates a lot of opportunities for Philly's offense.
  • Joe Dellera breaks down why he likes the Sixers are home favorites against the Tatum-less Celtics.

Celtics vs. 76ers Odds

Celtics Odds +5 [BET NOW]
76ers Odds -5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +165 / -205 [BET NOW]
Over/Under N/A [BET NOW]
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Tuesday evening and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

After mustering just 75 points in a 30-point loss to the Knicks on Monday, the Celtics head to Philadelphia for a Wednesday night matchup with the 76ers. This is the first game of a two-game mini-series between the two teams, with Game 2 coming on Friday.

Both of these teams sit atop the Eastern Conference and while there has not been as much talk about either to win the East compared to the Bucks or the Nets, both are lethal in their own right, making this a potential premier matchup.

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Boston Celtics

Boston will be without Jayson Tatum for this game since he is not expected to travel due to COVID-19 protocols. Robert Williams returned to practice and is no longer listed on the injury report. Keep an eye on his status and updates with our Labs Insiders Tool since it’s unclear whether he will immediately see minutes after his 10 day absence.

Tatum’s absence cannot be overstated. He’s the Celtics’ leader and has carried the team at times along with Jaylen Brown. Boston is seven points better per 100 possessions with him on the court, according to Cleaning the Glass. Additionally, his improvement as a facilitator has opened up the Celtics’ offense since he gets so much attention and so many double teams.

Luckily for Boston, Kemba Walker has returned after dealing with a knee injury that led to him being sidelined for the start of the season. Walker only played 20 minutes against the Knicks on Monday, so it would not be too surprising to see Brad Stevens limit his minutes in this contest, as well.

The Celtics will eventually need Kemba to step up and assume some of the playmaking responsibilities with Tatum sidelined.


Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers will receive a boost as Joel Embiid and Seth Curry should return to play in this game. Embiid missed time due to right knee pain, while Seth Curry missed time after testing positive for COVID-19. The 76ers will be without Mike Scott (knee) and Vincent Poirier (health protocols).

Embiid is having an MVP-type of season so far. He’s averaging 25 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.5 blocks with a 57.4 eFG%. The 76ers are a whopping 17.8 points better with him on the court due to his contributions both offensively and defensively, per Cleaning the Glass.

In this matchup Embiid should very clearly be the best player in the paint for either team.

The return of Curry is also important. Embiid has a gravitational force, and by that I mean he will draw defenses into the paint to collapse on him. Curry’s return means that he now has a lights out shooter to pass to on the perimeter.

This season (in games where they’ve both played), 12.6% of Embiid’s passes have been to Curry, who shoots 68.4% from the field off an Embiid pass, per NBA Advanced Stats.

We can even see the duo’s chemistry when looking at the 76ers lineup data. In lineups with Embiid and Curry on the court, Philadelphia has a team eFG% of 62.7% (100th percentile) and score 125.1 points per 100 possessions (99th percentile), per Cleaning the Glass.

Celtics-76ers Pick

Ordinarily, I like to bet on a Brad Stevens-coached team as a road dog (as it’s generally been profitable to do so), but the 76ers are the play in this spot.

Without Tatum, the Celtics are a different team. In all lineups without him, Boston is -2 points per 100 to +5 when he is on the floor.

This is not a new trend. Last season, in lineups with Smart, Brown and Walker on the floor but Tatum (and Gordon Hayward) off, the Celtics were -13.3 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass. It isn’t even because they can’t score, instead because of defensive issues. This holds true this season, as the Celtics get crushed on the defensive glass without Tatum on the court. This is a recipe for disaster against the 76ers.

Philadelphia should be able to dominate the paint and even though the Celtics have added Tristan Thompson to shore up their interior defenses, the 76ers will have plenty of good looks from outside between the returning Curry and Danny Green.

Pick: 76ers -5

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