The Philadelphia 76ers gave one last gasp in game four and staved off elimination. That earned them a home win and cut their second round series deficit to 3-1 against the Boston Celtics. Truth be told, had things shaken just the right way, they could have been the aggressor here.
That hasn’t been the case, though, and now Boston gets to host an elimination game at the TD Garden. The Celtics could have ended this thing and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in their previous game. While they failed, I don’t love the odds of them allowing this series to get back to Philadelphia.
Cleveland finished off the Raptors and is waiting in the ECF. Golden State and Houston are ready to rock in the Western Conference Finals. The NBA playoffs are moving full speed ahead and this series is the only thing holding them back.
Vegas likes Boston to move things along tonight, but they’re playing things close to the chest with just a 1-point spread at GTbets. That makes this a virtual pick’em, but you’re getting solid value pretty much no matter where you go. You just need to pick the right angle.
Philadelphia 76ers (+1, -109) @ Boston Celtics (-1, -109) Total: 204.5 (-111/-107)
I don’t feel like playing with this spread. You’re basically taking the Sixers to win here at -109 or you’re picking Boston to win the game. If you like the Sixers, the spread isn’t your bet. It’s the Moneyline, where you’re getting -101 at GTbet and even more value (+105) and Bovada and other basketball betting sites.
That’s not the bet I like, because I don’t think the 76ers win this game. They did snag two road wins against the Miami Heat in round one, but they’ve yet to do that in this series. That, and the Celtics are undefeated at home during the playoffs so far. With a return trip to the ECF on the line, I’m not betting against Boston in this spot.
You get slightly more value by taking the Celtics to win by one, but that’s only a push. They need to win by two to convert this bet at -109 at GTbets. Considering how tight this series has been, I’m not feeling that wager, either. Instead, you can attack the Over here or back the Celtics at -121 (best price is at GTbets) to close this thing out.
Riding with Boston is my preferred bet. The price is actually really good despite the fact that they’re at home and are expected to close this series out.
Philly is still potentially a very tough out. Ben Simmons has improved his play over the last few games and the Sixers made a brilliant move to start T.J. McConnell.
McConnell gave Philly a second playmaker at all times, while the Sixers were much more controlled in game four than they had been for much of the series. That led to 26 trips to the charity stripe and just 8 turnovers. Boston stayed aggressive and matched them with 26 free throw attempts, but they weren’t nearly as careful with the ball (15 turnovers).
That was really the difference in the last meeting, as both teams shot 41% or worse from the floor and Boston held a hot-shooting Sixers team to 26% from outside.
Now that the series shifts back to Boston, I think the defensive edge is more in their favor as well. The Celtics have been tough to beat at home all year and they’ve also been a monster ATS squad. They let one get away in game four, but now they have a chance to end this thing and keep themselves fresh ahead of what could be an intense ECF series with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Sixers are a team of destiny, but that won’t be fulfilled this year. They flashed insane upside and are going to be even better next season. Their lack of veteran leadership and playoff experience popped up in this series, however, and even in a tight game I think this is the end of the road. If the spread was thicker I’d consider rolling with Philly, but these games honestly tend to get out of hand.
I think just rolling with the Celtics at -121 at home is the most logical bet.