Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers – NBA, January 20, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| January 20, 2021 5:18 am PST

The Celtics currently lead the Eastern Conference, but the 76ers are just one win away from overtaking them, and what better way to get that win than against them. The Eastern Conference is tightly packed with only two wins separating first and eleventh.

The Celtics have dominated this fixture, having won five of their last six games against the 76ers. However, Philadelphia won the most recent match between the two in a pre-season game in December of last year. They have also won four of the previous six games to have been played in Philadelphia.

Here are the match odds and my Celtics vs. 76ers betting prediction.

Celtics vs. 76ers Odds

Celtics (+5.5) -110
76ers (-5.5) -110
Celtics To Win +194
76ers To Win -205
Over 216.5 Points -110
Under 216.5 Points -110

The spread looks massive here; I expected this to pretty much be a ‘pick em’ match between these two. The points total set by the bookmakers looks just about spot on.

The Celtics have faired well as underdogs so far this season, winning four of the five games they have been the betting outsider.

Celtics Analysis

Despite a 30 point loss to the Knicks last time out, the Celtics have been in good form recently, having won the previous five games. The Celtics never got going in the Knicks’ defeat, losing all four quarters of the game. When you analyze the previous wins, one thing is clear to see: the opposition they beat in those five games was not the best. They were, in fact, the bottom five teams in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics have the best record in the East, having won four of their six away games on the road. This includes winning the last three in a row against the Pistons, Raptors, and the Heat.

Here are the latest betting trends for Boston:

  • They have won four of their last five games against the spread.
  • They also have the same record against the 76ers over the last five match-ups.
  • Eight of their last nine games against the 76ers in Philadelphia have gone under the betting total.
  • Only two of their last 12 games against teams from the Atlantic Division has gone over the points total.

When you look at the offensive stats for the Celtics, you see a gritty and honest team. By honest, I mean they have the tenth highest field goal percentage in the league, which as a result, means they average the tenth highest points total per game.

Their offense on the road has been good, which is reflected in the rise of their field goal and three-point percentages.

They rebound the ball well, particularly in attack, and are generally a hard-working team that runs their socks off.

They are well-drilled, and their team is set up well. Because of this, they are seldom caught out of position and can intercept and block better. They are averaging six blocks per game, which is the fifth-highest average in the league. However, their blocking has been overzealous at times, which has resulted in a high personal foul count.

The Celtics haven’t had any stand-out players this season, but here they show their team spirit in preparation for this game.

The Celtics will have some absentees for this game as Tatum, Williams, and Edwards are all in quarantine. At the same time, Langford has failed to recover from a recent wrist injury and is out also. However, one piece of good news is that Fall is hopeful of returning, having previously been out with an ankle injury.

76ers Analysis

The 76ers have the added motivation of knowing a win here could take them to the top of the Eastern Conference. However, they come into this game on a run of poor form, having only won two of their previous six games. The two wins came against the twelfth placed Miami Heat, and even one of those wins was in overtime!

However, most of those games were on the road, and it has been a different story for them in Philadelphia this season. They have won seven of the eight games played at the Wells Fargo Center, so you could say it’s becoming a bit of a fortress for them.

Here are the latest betting trends for Philadelphia:

  • Five of their last seven games have gone over the betting total.
  • Only one of their last six games against the Celtics have gone over the points total.
  • The total has gone over in four of their last five games against opponents from the Eastern Conference.
  • They have lost six of the last eight games against teams in the Atlantic Division.
  • Wednesday’s has been an odd day for them as they have lost four of the last five games played on that day against the spread. However, they have done well on Wednesday night in Philadelphia, winning four of the previous six against the spread.

The 76ers have a decent, honest offense this season. And by honest, I mean they have the tenth best field goal percentage in the league, which has resulted in the tenth highest points average per game. As you would expect for a team with as good a home record as they have, their offense has been much better at home—their average points per game total rise seven points, which is significant.

However, they can often get a bit sloppy during games, resulting in a large number of turnovers, which they will need to improve on.

Their defense has been good also, and they get around the court well, not allowing their opponent much time on the ball.

It will be an exciting match-up in the rebounding department as both teams rebound better at the same end of the court—the Celtics offensively and the 76ers defensively. The two teams match up well with their defensive blocking, where the 76ers rank first and the Celtics fifth in the league.

Australian Ben Simmons has been heavily criticized for his lack of points this season, but he has done a lot of the donkey work for the 76ers that perhaps goes unnoticed. He has also been at the heart of many of their offensive plays, and although he hasn’t been on the end of a lot of those plays, he has undoubtedly helped to assist with many baskets this season.

Like the Celtics, the 76ers have also been hit by the current pandemic recently, and Poirer remains out. However, they are hopeful that Point Guard Curry will return for this game. Both Korkmaz and Embiid face late fitness tests, but the early signs are that they will probably return for this match-up. The one player who will miss the game is Scott, who is suffering from a knee injury.

Celtics vs. 76ers Betting Pick

When I initially saw the spread for this game, I assumed that the pandemic must have wiped out the whole of the Celtics team. While they do have a few missing, so do the 76ers, so I see only one outcome here, and that is to take the Celtics with the handicap. There is no doubt in my mind that the 76ers are a better team overall, but they have been playing poorly as of late, and if the Celtics can put their woeful display against the Knicks behind them, they should be able to win with the handicap.

Pick
  • Over 142.5 Points
    -110

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