The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics will renew a classic playoff rivalry as they face off in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at the TD Garden. We are in Beantown sharing our NBA odds series, making a 76ers-Celtics Game 1 prediction and pick while showing you how to watch.
The 76ers swept the Brooklyn Nets 4-0 in the quarterfinals but suffered a major loss when Joel Embiid suffered a significant knee injury in Game 3. Ultimately, they won Game 1 and Game 2 handily. But they took Game 3 by a 102-97 margin while losing Embiid. Finally, they defeated the Nets 96-88 in Game 4 without Embiid. They have had eight days to prepare for this game, knowing they will not have Embiid for the first two games.
The Celtics beat the Atlanta Hawks 4-2 in the quarterfinals. Initially, they dominated the first two games by winning 112-99 and 119-106, respectively. The Celtics lost 130-122 in Game 3 but won 129-121 in Game 4. However, they fell 119-117 in Game 5, setting up a road matchup in Game 6. But the Celtics closed out the series with a 128-120 victory on the road.
The 76ers are in the semifinals for the third season in a row. However, they have lost seven semifinal matchups in a row and have not advanced past this round since the 2000-2001 season, when Allen Iverson helped them advance to the NBA Finals. The Celtics are in the semifinals for the second season in a row and sixth time in seven seasons. Significantly, they have advanced past this round in two of the last three seasons.
The Sixers and Celtics have faced off in the playoffs 14 times in their history. Amazingly, the Celtics have won 10 of those series and are 62-47 against the 76ers in their history.
Here are the 76ers-Celtics Game 1 NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NBA Playoffs Odds: 76ers-Celtics Game 1 Odds
Philadelphia 76ers: +9.5 (-110)
Boston Celtics: -9.5 (-110)
Over: 213.5 (-110)
Under: 213.5 (-110)
How To Watch 76ers vs. Celtics Game 1
Time: 7:30 PM ET/4:30 PM PT
*Watch NBA games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why The 76ers Could Cover The Spread
The Sixers have a tall task to uncover. Ultimately, they must find a way to beat the Celtics without their best player. Embiid will not play Game 1 and likely miss Game 2. Moreover, he might not play in this series at all if the knee injury is as bad as speculated.
James Harden must step up. Significantly, he is averaging 17.3 points per game during the playoffs. Harden averaged 25.5 points per game against the Celtics during the regular season and must replicate those numbers. Substantially, he has played the Celtics in the playoffs five times in his career, averaging 27.8 points and 10.6 assists per game. Tobias Harris is another option. Ultimately, he is averaging 20.3 points per game and 8.3 rebounds in the playoffs. But Harris only produced an average of 11.5 points per game in four matchups with the Celtics this season. Meanwhile, Tyrese Maxey will need to turn it up. Maxey is averaging 21.8 points per game in the playoffs. Sadly, he only has averaged 10 points per game against the Celtics in four games this season.
The bench needs to do more. Unfortunately, they have averaged 24 points per game during the playoffs. The Sixers are 11-5 this season without Embiid. However, they did not face the Celtics in any of those games.
The Sixers will cover the spread if Harden, Maxey, and Harris produce monster numbers. Furthermore, the bench must execute.
Why The Celtics Could Cover The Spread
The Celtics will have a significant advantage as they play the 76ers with a fully healthy lineup. Moreover, the Celtics will not have to face Embiid for at least the first two games of this series.
Jayson Tatum is averaging 27.2 points with 10 rebounds per game in the playoffs. Now, he gets another chance to make some noise against the Sixers. Jaylen Brown is averaging 26.7 points per game in the postseason. Ultimately, he is the best second option for the Celtics. Marcus Smart is averaging 16.7 points per game in the playoffs. Substantially, he is consistent with his offense and defense. The Celtics play a tight defensive style that can stifle opponents. However, it fell apart against the Hawks.
The Celtics will cover the spread if Tatum and Brown continue to play well. Moreover, their defense must prevent Harden, Harris and Maxey from getting hot.
Final 76ers-Celtics Game 1 Prediction & Pick
It is difficult to see the 76ers competing at the Garden without Embiid. Therefore, expect the Celtics to run all over the Sixers and take Game 1 with a resounding victory.
Final 76ers-Celtics Game 1 Prediction & Pick: Boston Celtics: -9.5 (-110)