Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics Betting Predictions

76ers vs Celtics NBA
Philadelphia vs. Boston, NBA Betting Predictions, January 20

The Philadelphia 76ers have dropped four of their last six since beginning the year 7-1, and it doesn’t get easier as they host the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. The Celtics will be without a few key players, but that hasn’t stopped them from taking an early lead in the Eastern Conference alongside the 76ers. Despite no Jayson Tatum, Boston will hold strong against Philadelphia on the road.

76ers vs. Celtics Betting Odds

Both the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics are missing star players for this contest between the top-two teams in the Eastern Conference. The 76ers will be without Joel Embiid for a second straight game due to a knee injury while the Celtics will be without Jayson Tatum due to COVID-19 protocols for the third consecutive game. Both players are very important parts of their team, but both organizations have other stars they can rely upon.

In Philadelphia, the scoring burden falls on Tobias Harris, who is averaging 19 points per game this season. Harris is shooting 50 percent from the field, including 43 percent from behind the arc, and is going to be someone who must carry the load offensively as Seth Curry is also out after testing positive for the virus earlier this month. Despite Harris’ scoring prowess, the team relies heavily on Ben Simmons to make plays at both ends of the floor without Embiid in the lineup. Simmons isn’t a scorer, but he does almost everything else for the 76ers while averaging eight assists and 9.3 rebounds per game. He’s a main reason Shake Milton has been able to step up this season and take the next step in his development now that Embiid is out of the lineup.

Tatum’s loss is a big one for Boston, but the Celtics have far more offensive weapons to make up for the lost 27 points per game than Philadelphia. Jaylen Brown is averaging close to 26 points per game this season and he’s only slipped to 23 points per game the last two games without Tatum. But Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker both have more than enough talent to explode offensively on any given night, especially since Walker only made his season debut Sunday in the 30-point loss to the Knicks. The real wild card, though, for Boston is Payton Pritchard, who has had flashes of brilliance this season, but it has been inconsistent, which is to be expected from a rookie. A good game from Pritchard will go a long way to helping Boston overcome the loss of Tatum.

I’m guessing the NBA betting sites in New Jersey were scared off by Boston’s performance last time out against the Knicks. Otherwise, I have no idea how Philadelphia is favored by 5.5 points in this game without Joel Embiid on the floor. The Celtics cruised last Friday to a 27-point win over Orlando without Tatum, but an ugly showing against New York two days later was enough to scare off the New Jersey online sports betting sites. The 76ers began the year 7-1, but they have lost four of their last six, and that was even with Embiid on the floor for most of those games. So I’m not buying into Philadelphia magically becoming a vastly superior team without Embiid on the floor. The 76ers struggled hard with Memphis in their last game despite it finishing as a two-point game. The sportsbooks are actually offering Boston on the moneyline at +194 odds, and it’s hard for me to ignore that price on this team.

My Prediction

Boston Moneyline

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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