Thursday night brings one of the best NBA games of the season to date, as Boston and Philadelphia meet in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The Celtics entered the season as one of the favorites in not only the Eastern Conference, but the entire NBA, and they’ve lived up to the hype with a 5-1 start. The Sixers have so far shown that dealing James Harden to the Clippers might have been exactly the “addition by subtraction” that the most optimistic Philly fans hoped it was.
Both the Celtics and 76ers enter this game healthy. Boston is coming off its first loss of the season in overtime on the road against Minnesota, while Philly has won five straight after losing by one point to the Bucks in its season opener.
The C’s are the slight favorites at , while the total is set at . Below is everything you need to know about Thursday night’s matchup, including our Celtics vs. 76ers betting pick.
Here are our Celtics vs. 76ers odds, picks, and predictions.
Celtics vs. 76ers Odds: Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under
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Boston Celtics (5-1, 2-2-2 ATS)
Boston’s case for “winning” the offseason was as strong as anyone thanks to the additions of Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday. With those two players in the mix, no matter how much the Celtics end up missing Marcus Smart and Grant Williams, their starting five plus top backup Al Horford is arguably the best “top six” in the league. We’ve seen nothing through the first two weeks of the season to doubt this group, which nearly improved to 6-0 earlier this week, but came up just short against Anthony Edwards and the T’Wolves in overtime.
Holiday has been exactly the solid two-way cog at point guard the Celtics needed last year, and his reputation as a defensive stopper will get a great test tonight against Philadelphia’s Tyrese Maxey. Porzingis has also gotten off to a strong start to the year, and if the 7-footer continues to shoot anywhere near this well (he’s shooting 42.9% from three on nearly five attempts per game), this offense will be virtually unstoppable. Star wings Jayson Tatum (30.5 points per game) and Jaylen Brown (23.2 ppg) have continued to carry the scoring load, and Tatum is also averaging nearly nine rebounds per game.
Philadelphia 76ers (5-1, 6-0 ATS)
The Sixers look like a much different team with Tyrese Maxey taking on a much bigger role following Harden’s exit, and Maxey has responded with All-Star-level play. Maxey is averaging 25.5 points and 7.3 assists per game while shooting better than 44% on over seven three-point attempts per game. His play has Philadelphia looking like a legitimate contender in the East.
Maxey’s constant movement and coach Nick Nurse’s system have also resulted in much better ball movement across the board for this team after everything went through Harden and Joel Embiid last year. Embiid is still dominating, scoring 32.5 points per game while pulling down 11 rebounds per game. It’s his improvement as a passer, though, that has made Philadelphia nearly unstoppable. Embiid, who has never averaged more than 4.2 assists per game in his career, is up to 6.2 dimes per game this year.
Both Tobias Harris and offseason addition Kelly Oubre are feasting on the open looks provided by Maxey and Embiid, with both shooting 40% or better from downtown.
Celtics vs. 76ers Prediction: Philadelphia Gets Upset Win
It’s still hard to trust Philadelphia in the postseason against the league’s best teams, but they’re playing outstanding right now, and they’ve had few problems at home in the regular season. This matchup feels like a coin flip, but Philly is fresh off an easy win over the Wizards, while Boston’s last game was a draining overtime loss in Minnesota. That makes this a much better spot for the home team.
This game will likely hinge on the point guard battle between Maxey and Holiday and the Porzingis-Embiid clash down low. Holiday is as tough defensively as anyone Maxey will see, but Maxey’s combination of speed and shooting against the 33-year-old Holiday should allow him to be effective. Porzingis will challenge Embiid on both ends, but the advantage in that one goes to the 2023 MVP.
This one will come down to the wire, but I see Philadelphia “avenging” last year’s postseason meltdown against Boston at home (though it will take a lot more than winning this one in November to make up for that disappointment).
Celtics vs. 76ers pick: 76ers
How To Watch Celtics vs. 76ers
- Date: Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023
- Tipoff: 7 p.m. ET
- Location: Wells Fargo Center — Philadelphia
- Where to Watch: NBA League Pass, NBC Sports Boston