Boston Celtics (33-10) at Philadelphia 76ers (19-19)
We picked up the win last night when we backed what might be the worst team in the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks on the road against the Charlotte Hornets. We had Dallas plus seven points and didn’t even need the points as the Mavericks won the game outright 115-111. There is always going to be some great value to be had backing very bad teams in the NBA getting handfuls of points. And while I didn’t expect the Mavs to win the game outright, there was little doubt the game would be tightly contested. I wouldn’t back the Hornets -7 against anybody at this point, they stink. Today I will be shifting gears and focusing on what might be the best team in the NBA, the Boston Celtics, as they play against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The NBA takes its show on the road today as the Boston Celtics will take on the Philadelphia 76ers in London, England from the famed 02 Arena. It is a great showcase for the league as some of the associations best young talent will be on display. The Celtics have the most wins in the league at 33 and are winners of six straight games. The 76ers are just trying to keep their heads above water with their talented roster of youngsters and sit at 19-19. The Celtics are -3-point favorites. The game total over-under is set at 211 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:00 PM PST from London.
For those of you that read my daily picks a lot, you will know that I really like the Boston Celtics this year. There is just something about this team that has them playing motivated basketball, and the roster is a very talented one, even without star Gordan Hayward. The Celtics win a lot, and they cover a lot. But I don’t just blindly back them.
Boston’s last game was a long time ago in NBA terms on the 6th, and I actually bet against them. I backed the Brooklyn Nets at home plus five points and came out on top when the Celtics won, 87-85. But that game was on the road, this one is very rare for the NBA, as it is on a neutral floor.
The 76ers are technically the home team here, and the line is somewhat reflective of that. If this game were in Boston, I could see this line being Celtics -7 or -8. I am not sure why the books think that this neutral site favors the Sixers so much to bring that number down to just -3.
I really like the 76ers roster. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are two of the most talented young big men to hit the league on the same team in a generation. They both can score and pass and rebound the ball, and if they could stay healthy, they are eventually going to be a force in the Eastern Conference. But they aren’t there yet.
With Embiid being very fragile and struggling to stay on the floor the 76ers haven’t yet fully realized their potential as a playoff team. They had a nice break since their last game for the travel, and Embiid should be healthy and on the floor today. The 76ers have turned it around recently as they have won four straight games, but it has been against some weak competition.
I think if Philly stays healthy the rest of the way out, and that is a huge IF, as Simmons and Embiid are made of glass, they should sneak into the playoffs in the East. But if they manage to sneak into the 8th seed only to face these Boston Celtics in the first round, it is going to be a short playoff run. Boston is just too good.
This is a bit of a weird game to handicap. The NBA doesn’t do neutral site games. It is very rare that one team won’t have a home court advantage and this number reflects some confusion. We have this neutral site conversation a lot in the college game, but rarely in the NBA does it come up, so the line is a cautious one. Embiid and Simmons both getting a week off and coming in healthy does scare me somewhat, they are a pretty good team with both of them on the floor. But the Celtics are just a much better and more talented team, and three points aren’t enough to scare me away from this non-standard scenario.
I think Boston comes out strong and wins this game going away. They are playing with a fire under them this season and are red-hot right now. I love that they got a week off to rest, they had tired legs against Brooklyn, and I expect a great performance out of them. Give me the Boston Celtics -3-points from London, England.