Boston Celtics (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS), 7:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, November 3, 2009, Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, Pa.
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Celtics -7/76ers +7
The Boston Celtics have looked like the best team in the NBA through their first four games. With wins over the Cavaliers, Hornets, Bulls and Bobcats, including complete blowouts in the wins over the Bulls and Bobcats, the Celtics have proved themselves already. They could legitimately win 70 games this season, but for now they will try to stay perfect when they travel to Philadelphia to face the 76ers.
The Celtics offense has been very balanced thus far. Paul Pierce is the only player with more than 20 points per game, at 21.8. Ray Allen checks in at 17.8 points per game. Kevin Garnett has 13.3 points per game and leads the team with 7.0 rebounds per game. Rajon Rondo is only averaging 6.5 points but is racking in the assists with almost 12 per game. Rasheed Wallace isn’t putting up the numbers many expected when he was acquired in the offseason, but instead he is a solid role player for the Celtics, averaging 10 points and four rebounds per game.
The Sixers have done exactly what they have been expected to do so far. They lost to a superior team, the Magic, and they beat two inferior teams, the Bucks and Knicks. Obviously, they are underdogs against the Celtics, but at home they have a chance to make an early season statement if they can at least compete and keep it close.
Losing Andre Miller was a huge loss for the Sixers. Lou Williams was appointed the team’s new starting point guard, despite being more of a scoring guard and not the ideal pure floor leader. But Williams is doing quite fine so far. He is leading the team in scoring with 20.3 points per game and has added in 5.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game. As expected, Andre Iguodala is filling up the stats. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard is second on the team in scoring with 19.7 points and he leads the team in rebounds (8.3 rpg) and assists (6.7 apg). The biggest surprise in the first three games has been second-year big man Marreese Speights, who is averaging 16.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Thaddeus Young (15.3 ppg) and Elton Brand (13.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg) are doing just fine as well, but are being overshadowed by the terrific play of Williams, Iguodala and Speights.
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The Sixers have a solid starting lineup and a decent bench as well, so they can compete with teams like the Celtics. But they have to play defense. Speights, Samuel Dalembert, Iguodala, Young and Brand all have to rebound well and help defend big men down low. Williams can’t get beat on the perimeter by Rondo. If Rondo gets by him, it creates a help defense situation and leaves shooters like Allen, Pierce, Wallace and Eddie House open on the perimeter. The Celtics have so many weapons on offense that the Sixers can’t double-team anyone. If they do, somebody will be open. Instead, every player needs to play solid one-on-one defense.
The Celtics are 3-1 ATS this season, but their one non-cover was only by a point in their 10-point win over New Orleans. The Celtics are averaging to cover by almost 15 points per game. The Sixers have gone over in two of their three games, but they are averaging to go over by 29 points in those three games.
The Celtics and Sixers met four times last season. The Celtics won all four games. They won by a combined 43 points in the two games in Boston, but they only beat the Sixers by a combined three points in their two wins in Philadelphia.
For the Celtics last season, the under was 29-17 when they were on the road. The under was 15-5 when the Celtics were on the road after two straight SU wins. The under was 26-18 for the Sixers at home last season and 10-4 at home when they were coming off two straight SU wins.
Ryno’s Pick: The Sixers competed with the Celtics both games in Philly last season. They could have easily won both games. The Sixers have the talent and are playing well enough right now to do the same. But the Celtics have been so dominant so far this season. Two of their four wins are by at least 28 points. The Sixers actually match up well with Boston, but the Celtics are hard to bet against right now. However, based on the trends listed above from last season, the under looks like the best play in this game. Take the under of 191.