Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics – NBA, April 6, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| April 6, 2021 4:06 am PDT

The Celtics host the 76ers at the TD Garden in this highly anticipated Eastern Conference matchup. The 76ers are looking to reclaim the top spot in the east, having been knocked off their perch by the Nets, who went above them after beating the Knicks last night.

Having sat at the top of the Conference for most of the season, they won’t be happy to be dislodged and want to return there as soon as possible.

The Celtics will have their own agenda tonight as a win for them could potentially lift them into the automatic playoff spots. They will see finishing in those positions as a minimum this season, so a win tonight could be crucial.

That won’t be easy given they have lost on the last three occasions they have faced the 76ers. They lost back-to-back games to Philadelphia in January, with both games coming by way of a comfortable margin for the 76ers.

However, they have a fantastic record against them in Boston as they have beaten them in nine of the last ten meetings, which includes winning the previous three.

76ers vs. Celtics Odds

76ers -1.5-110
Celtics +1.5-110
76ers To Win-125
Celtics To Win-102
Over 223 Points-110
Under 223 Points-110

The betting is as close as I expected for this one, and the 1.5-point lead could be given either way. The points total looks slightly higher than I thought it would be and could offer the most value in this closely contested matchup.

When they met in January, the spread was 4.5 and 5 points and the 76ers covered both of those totals comfortably. However, they don’t appear to be playing as well now as they were then. But then saying that neither do the Celtics, so perhaps there is value in taking the 76ers to cover the small handicap tonight.

The 76ers have an excellent record of 21-5 as the favorites to beat other Eastern Conference opponents.

76ers Analysis

The 76ers are going through their worst period for some time, having lost three of their previous five games. They suffered some heavy defeats during that period, and their two wins came against the Cavaliers and the Timberwolves, both teams who have no playoff aspirations this season.

Their poor form has coincided with some below-par efforts from point guard Ben Simmons who hasn’t looked himself recently. Many believe he could be nursing an injury and is trying to play through the pain in the absence of star Joel Embiid.

Their form on the road has been decent, having won 14 and lost 11 of their 25 road trips. Although they have lost two of their last three away fixtures, they have only lost two of their previous nine games on the road if you look at the bigger picture. They thumped the Cavaliers by 20-points in their last away match and didn’t lose a single quarter of the game.

Here are the latest betting trends for Philadelphia:

  • They have only won one of their last five matches against the spread.
  • Six of their previous eight games have gone under the betting total.
  • The 76ers have won 12 of their last 16 matches.
  • Only one of their previous seven games on the road has failed to go under the points total.
  • They have lost eight of their last nine games in Boston against the spread.
  • Philadelphia has won six of their previous seven matches against teams from the east coast.
  • The 76ers have only lost one of their last seven games against teams based in the Atlantic Division.

Philadelphia has a good offense this season but concerning they haven’t fired away from home. They are averaging four fewer points per game on the road this season which could be a telling factor in what is expected to be an even contest.

However, their most significant strength is their solid defense which has very few weaknesses. They are very well organized, which has resulted in them holding their opponents to a 45% field goal percentage, which is amongst the lowest in the league this season. This is predominantly down to their superb blocking, which has been the best in the NBA.

Their defensive rebounding has been excellent, and their rebounding, in general, has been their key to victory in recent games against the Celtics.

They are also making a very high number of steals per game, which, combined with their rebounding, means they tend to see a lot of the ball each game.

The 76ers will be without Hill, who is sidelined with a thumb ok jury, but Maxey is expected to return tonight following time spent in quarantine recently.

Celtics Analysis

The Celtics have now alternated back-to-back defeats with back-to-back wins for their previous eight games. If that trend continues tonight they will be back in the loss column.

However, they appeared rejuvenated last time out against the Hornets by Langford’s return, who was making his seasonal debut following a long injury layoff. If that spark continues tonight, they can be confident of making it three wins in a row.

They now haven’t won three games in a row for a month, but when they did, it was against another NBA powerhouse in the form of the Clippers.

Their home form has been excellent this season as they have picked up 15 wins from their 24 matches played at the TD Garden. However, their form has been sketchy as of late as they have won three and lost four of their previous seven matchups.

Here are the latest betting trends for Boston:

  • The Celtics have won five and lost two of their previous seven matches against the spread.
  • All of their last five games have seen the points total go under.
  • The total has gone under in all five of their previous home fixtures.
  • They have won four of their last five matches against the spread when battling Eastern Conference opposition.
  • Boston is 2-4 in their previous six games against teams from the Atlantic Division.
  • The Celtics have won eight of their last nine matches played in April.

Boston has an average-looking offense this season, but they have shot relatively well from three-point range most nights despite this. Both teams match up well in this department, and therefore this could be a vital section of the game tonight. Although, they haven’t been very successful against stopping teams from scoring from a distance which could mean they lose this mini-battle.

The Celtics offensive rebounding has been good this season, and although they haven’t always performed against the 76ers, it is amongst the best in the league.

Their defense has been better and is solid most nights. They have defended marginally better at home this season, conceding on average two fewer points per game. This, combined with the fact that the 76ers are averaging four fewer points on the road this season, could be a telling factor tonight.

The Celtics will miss Thompson, who is currently in quarantine, but Ojeleye is hopeful of returning following a hip injury.

76ers vs. Celtics Betting Pick

Pick
  • 76ers -1.5
    -110

This is a close game on paper, but how much is that worth? All I have heard all season is that the Celtics have a great team on paper, but they have been inconsistent far too often.

The 76ers have been going through a slump recently, but having lost top spot to the Nets for the first time in months, I believe they will be refocused tonight. I also think they may have had their eye on this fixture for over a week now, and while that has led to some slip-ups heading into tonight’s matchup, they should be well prepared.

I will take the 76ers to continue their recent dominance over the Celtics.

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