Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers Pick
Boston Celtics (43 – 28 SU, 34-36-1 ATS) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (46-25 SU, 34-37 ATS)
When: Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 – 7:00 PM ET
Where: Wells Fargo Arena – Philadelphia, PA
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BOS +2.5 / PHI -2.5 (Intertops Sportsbook)
Power Rankings: Philadelphia -7
Takeaways from Boston and Philadelphia’s Most Recent Games
The Celtics saw a two-game winning streak come to an end on Monday when they were defeated at home by the visiting Denver Nuggets. Closing as a four-point favorite, the Celtics failed to cover for the fourth consecutive game when Denver defeated them 115-104.
The 76ers are riding a five-game winning streak, capped off most recently by a road win last night in the Queen City against the Charlotte Hornets. The Sixers closed as a one-point favorite but went onto defeat the Hornets 118-114 to extend their cover streak to two games.
How the Public is Betting the Boston and Philadelphia Game
66% of the consensus like the Sixers as the home favorite. As a result of the public lean on the 76ers the market has moved upward by half of a point from the opening number of Philadelphia as a two-point favorite.
These two teams last met on February 12th where Boston extended its winning streak in this series to four games. As a 6.5-point underdog, the Celtics stormed into the City of Brotherly Love and pulled an outright upset of the Sixers to defeat them 112-109. Boston is 4-0 ATS over the course of this win streak.
Heading into this division rivalry and 2018 Eastern Conference Semifinal re-match, neither team has expressed any injury concerns to key personnel.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
The 76ers will have limited time to prepare for this contest as they are playing on one day’s rest. On the year, Philadelphia is both 3-7 straight-up and against the spread in back-to-backs. Philly will be back on the road on Saturday when they head down to the ATL to face off with the Atlanta Hawks. For Boston, the Celtics are playing this game on two day’s rest after completing a three-game home-stand that wrapped up against the Nuggets on Monday. This game is the first of a two-game road trip for the C’s.
Can Boston’s Defense Get The C’s Another Win Against The Sixers?
The Celtics own an edge in scoring defense as they own the seventh best scoring defense in the NBA giving up 107.6 points per game. The Celtics will look to bring their defense in the fold to slow down the 76ers’ fourth-ranked scoring offense which averages 115.1 points per game. In all three games this season, the Celtics were able to keep the Sixers under 115 points and as a result have won all three games. Boston will look to hone this strategy to triumph yet again against their divisional foes. The Celtics also own an advantage in turnovers and their bench produces 38.8 points per game which is 7.3 points more on average compared to Philly’s 31.5 bench points per contest. This also gives the Celtics another key advantage should this game the distance like it is expected to.
Can Philadelphia’s Rebounding Game Turn The Tide In This Series?
If Philadelphia wants to get this Boston-sized monkey off their back, they will have to go to where they own a significant advantage against their opponents: rebounding. Overall, the Sixers remain a force on the boards. Philadelphia generates 47.5 total rebounds per game (4th in the NBA) while opponents produce a sixth-ranked 43.3 totals rebound per contest against Philadelphia. The numbers are superior in contrast to Boston. The Celtics sit 21st in the NBA in total rebounds per match (44.5 rpg) and opponents generate a 20th-ranked 45.7 total rebounds per game against Boston. Exploiting this angle will give the Sixers an opportunity to wear down the Celtics, gain more possessions, and ultimately get the victory.
Building upon Boston’s supremacy in this series, the Celtics are 8-2 ATS and SU in the previous ten meetings between both teams. For Over/Under players, the Under is 4-1 ATS in the last five contests that have taken place in Philadelphia.
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Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Philadelphia -2.5
According to some other capping sites, the Sixers are supremely undervalued here. Folks still have not bought into the idea that they are on the Raptors level or can compete out west. That narrative in itself warrants a play on the 76ers. Why are the Sixers so undervalued? Because the Celtics have had Philly’s number as of late. The Sixers have been close to vanquishing the Beantown skeleton that lurks in their closet but still there is no cigar. The previous two games between these two teams was settled by a combined margin of 10 points and required overtime when the two met on Christmas Day. Boston has been a perpetual thorn in Philly’s side and I am willing to venture here that the Sixers have had this date circled on their calendar for some time now. For those that wish to back the Celtics here on the Money Line as a low-priced dog thanks to their recent spate of success in this series, I must warn you that the Celtics are 15-19 SU against teams with a .500 record or better this season. When you combine Philadelphia’s quality and their motivation in this spot, I firmly believe the Celtics will fall to 15-20 SU against above .500 teams outright. Moreover, Philadelphia is a dominant force on their own floor as they outscore opponents by 8.2 points on average when the contest takes place in the City of Brotherly Love. Philly will win end Boston’s dominance and cover easy.