It’s still early days but the Boston Celtics look like the team to beat in the East, and the latest NBA odds have them as favorites again tonight as they renew their rivalry with the Philadelphia 76ers.
While the Celtics haven’t quite found top gear in their impressive start, Jayson Tatum & Co. were too good for the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday in a lopsided 124-97 win to advance in the In-Season Tournament — and they’re 8-0 at TD Garden this season.
The 76ers have been more erratic over the past few weeks, but there was no shortage of firepower in the 138-94 win over the L.A. Lakers this week. Joel Embiid missed Wednesday’s loss in New Orleans due to an illness, but the superstar center should be back to lead the Philly charge tonight.
Check out our free NBA picks and predictions for 76ers vs. Celtics for a deep dive on tonight’s showdown.
76ers vs Celtics odds
76ers vs Celtics predictions
It hasn’t taken long for Al Horford’s importance to shine through once again for the Boston Celtics this season, whether he’s coming off the bench or in the starting five.
Kristaps Porzingis’ calf injury has pushed Horford into the latter role over the past few games and that’s a launchpad for the 37-year-old to play bigger minutes.
It goes without saying that Horford’s main job will be making Joel Embiid work for his points, as Boston simply doesn’t have a lot of other options for that assignment. But if he can stay out of foul trouble, I like the Horford rebounds prop as the veteran has the potential to log 30+ minutes tonight.
Horford has hit the Over on this line in his last two games, including 15 boards against Atlanta last weekend, and he gets the benefit of two off-days heading into this primetime battle.
While Horford isn’t likely to pull down many offensive rebounds (given that he’s often spacing the floor), his presence in the paint on the defensive end is especially important for a Celtics team that lost both Grant Williams and Robert Williams III this offseason.
The Philadelphia 76ers’ shooting percentage was in the mid-40s in both prior meetings this year, so there should be plenty of rebounds up for grabs. I’m backing Horford to clean the glass on Friday night.
My best bet: Al Horford Over 8.5 rebounds (+106)
76ers vs Celtics same-game parlay
Al Horford Over 8.5 rebounds
Derrick White Over 5.5 assists
Celtics first half moneyline
Derrick White has emerged as a key facilitator for the Celtics and one of the more underrated guards in the league. He’s dished out 18 assists over the last two contests and has racked up at least four dimes in every game in November.
White finished with five assists in both of the matchups with the 76ers this year and I’m picking him to go one better here as a setup guy for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
I also like the Celtics to get off to another quick start tonight. Boston raced to 69 points in the first half against the Bulls on Tuesday and the Hawks last weekend. With the Celtics offense humming from the tip-off, I’m taking them to win the first half, especially if Embiid starts slowly after sitting out a game.
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76ers vs Celtics spread and Over/Under analysis
The Celtics will put their unbeaten home record on the line tonight and the 6.5-point line speaks to Boston’s dominance at TD Garden. Six of their eight home wins have come by a double-digit margin.
These teams split the first two meetings this season, with the short-handed Celtics getting even in Philadelphia in the most recent matchup. Of course, there’s plenty of history with these franchises, including the seven-game playoff battle in May.
While the 76ers are still looking good at 12-6, it’s worth noting that they’re only 5-5 in their last 10 games. Still, Embiid should find some favorable matchups tonight with Boston lacking frontcourt depth, and he can expect a heavy dose of double teams in the post.
The trends tell contrasting stories for these teams when it comes to the Over/Under. The Over is 7-2-1 in the 76ers’ last 10 games, including their past three contests, with the Embiid-Tyrese Maxey duo doing damage.
Meanwhile, the Celtics have hammered the Under, which is 7-2-1 in that same span. The offense has been a little clunky at times and they’re shooting a middling 47.2% from the field, in part because they’re taking the most 3-pointers per game in the NBA.
76ers vs Celtics betting trend to know
The Celtics are among the fastest starters in the league. They’ve cashed the first-half moneyline in 50 of their last 67 games. Find more NBA betting trends for 76ers vs. Celtics.
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76ers vs Celtics game info
|TD Garden, Boston, MA
|Friday, December 1, 2023
|7:30 p.m. ET
|NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Boston
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