I rolled with the Boston Celtics to beat the spread in game one of their second-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers and they made me look smart. Not only did Boston stay within a +4.5 point spread, but they easily beat the Sixers at home to get this series going.
Coaching and home court advantage were just as big of a deal as I imagined they could be and I’m wondering if that will be a problem for Philly throughout this series. Perhaps, but heading into game two, I find it difficult to go against them for the second game in a row.
The Sixers easily dismantled the Miami Heat in round one and fundamentally they have the goods to rip Boston apart. It is a bit troubling that they lost game one even with Jaylen Brown sitting out, but I think the 76ers will come in much more focused this time.
Not playing in almost a full week probably gave way to some rust and timing issues, too, and those won’t be as prevalent tonight.
Is that enough for you to back the Sixers to beat a -4 spread at the TD Garden? Let’s take a closer look at tonight’s game two matchup to find out:
Philadelphia 76ers (-4, -115) @ Boston Celtics (+4, -105) Total: 206 (-115/-105)
This is a very interesting series, as the Celtics proved in game one they are potentially a lot to deal with even without Kyrie Irving. Whether it happens in game two or not, Jaylen Brown will eventually be back with this team and the would-be stripped down Celtics come off as insanely pesky.
Boston is rolling out two guys they didn’t use last year in Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier, but the rest of their roster is stacked full of veteran gamers who aren’t afraid of the big time anymore. Guys like Al Horford, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown can deliver in clutch situations and both Tatum and Rozier are really coming into their own.
Home court advantage can’t be ignored here. Boston is 5-0 at home during the playoffs and they were awesome at the TD Garden (27-14) during the regular season. They’ve also been annoying against the spread all year (56-32-2 overall) and even without Irving (6-2) they’ve been able to get the job done in the playoffs.
Boston’s against the spread data is pretty scary. They are a tough team to go against when Vegas likes them, but when the top NBA sportsbooks bet against them on their home floor, they’re literally undefeated at 9-0.
As daunting as that mark is, every streak does have to come to an end and I think this small spread is worth attacking tonight.
The Celtics will probably hang tight for much of the game, but Philly just needs to win by four to get a push and if they can deliver a big win like we know they’re capable of, obviously they hand out nice value at -115 at Bovada. You can get an even better price (-108) at GTbets if you’re willing to up that spread to -4.5, but I’m taking the line value all day.
Over on Philly’s side, there is little doubt that they operate the more explosive system and can kill you in just about every way. Joel Embiid is a lot for the Celtics to handle down low and on the outside, Ben Simmons can penetrate the paint at will and the Sixers have too many shooters on the outside to track.
If you’re looking at Boston’s defense from when Kyrie Irving was healthy, yeah, the Sixers might be in trouble. However, Boston really hasn’t been as good defensively since the playoffs started and they actually got torn up a bit by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Philly is a much more potent offensive juggernaut and after not really delivering in game one, I’m betting they wake up in a big way tonight. It could end up being a bit closer than you’ll want, but I love the Sixers to win here and I think they can cover.