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Best Bets for Marquee Celtics at 76ers Matchup

by Covers.com
Updated On: October 23, 2019, 3:37 pm ET

The NBA isn't wasting any time scheduling marquee games this season as Atlantic Division rivals Boston and Philadelphia tangle on the second day of the regular season.

Both the Celtics and 76ers will feature new faces; with Kemba Walker replacing the mercurial Kyrie Irving in Boston while the 76ers have added former Celtic Al Horford.

We break down the odds with our best bets and predictions for this battle on the hardwood.




The 76ers ranked second in the NBA last season in first-quarter scoring averaging 30.3 points per game. Although they lost Jimmy Butler and JJ Reddick in the offseason, they still have plenty of scoring options with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Al Horford, Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson

There are questions about who will spark their offense off the bench but for the first quarter at least, that shouldn't be a problem. Take Philly to go over their team total in the opening quarter. 

PICK: First Quarter Philadelphia 76ers Team Total Over 27.5



The 76ers absolutely excelled with home-court advantage last season posting an average scoring margin of plus-6.6 ppg in the first half of home games. A large part of that was their ability to fill up the basket early, putting up 61 first-half ppg at home. With Simmons pushing the pace - and hopefully improving his jumper - expect more of the same this season.  

On the other hand, Boston struggled to score in the early going on the road, averaging just 52.9 ppg after 24 minutes in away games. Back the 76ers on the 1H spread. 

PICK: First Half Philadelphia -2.5



Joel Embiid, when healthy, is one of the most unstoppable forces in the NBA. He averaged 27.5 ppg last season and upped that to 29.3 ppg in four games against Boston. 76ers coach Brett Brown said on Monday that he wants to help Embiid "define his legacy" and that Embiid "owning the paint is as good a place to start as any."

That seems like a great indication that Embiid could be in for an MVP caliber season. He should be in for a big day against the Celtics and one of the worst defensive centers in the league in Enes Kanter. Take the Over on Embiid's points.

PICK: Joel Embiid Over points



While Boston doesn't have Kyrie Irving anymore, Kemba Walker might actually be a better fit in terms of chemistry. Walker killed the 76ers last season, averaging 37 ppg against them in four games as a Hornet.

Boston was known for their defensive identity not too long ago but things have changed in a big way since then. Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder were jettisoned in 2017 and now they'll have to adjust to the departures of Al Horford and Aron Baynes.

The loss of Horford will really hurt as he was a crucial glue guy on both offense and defense. While Walker should be able to replace Kyrie Irving's role in the Celtics offense, Enes Kanter and the severely under-sized Daniel Theis represent a major downgrade from Horford's defense. 

Philadelphia was fifth in the league in scoring (114.4 ppg) and tenth in pace last season. Back the Over.

PICK: Over 214.5



While there are questions about Philadelphia's bench the Celtics reserves (besides Marcus Smart) might not be any better, especially if Gordon Hayward is unable to play. Hayward missed Monday's practice due to illness and even if he does suit up likely won't be at 100 percent.

The 76ers have better length, are more athletic and have home-court advantage which was a big edge for them last season. They should also own the paint with Horford and Embiid. 

Don't forget that the 76ers are coming off a season where they were within a few inches of defeating the team that eventually won the NBA championship. Now the dynamic duo of Simmons and Embiid is a year older, Tobias Harris has had time to settle into his role, and Horford gives them a steady veteran presence. Expect Philly to win and cover.    

PICK: Philadelphia -5