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76ers vs Celtics: NBA First-Round Playoff Series Odds, Betting Preview

This Eastern Conference, first-round matchup marks the 21st time the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers meet in a playoff series. The Celtics-76ers matchup is the most common by any team in NBA playoff history. This Orlando rendition will be missing the iconic venues and raucous crowds that Beantown and Philly usually offer. 

You can follow along and find more betting information on each series of the NBA Playoffs on our NBA home page. Check out our NBA sportsbook and place a bet before the 6:30 ET tip-off and tune in to watch on ESPN.

Kemba Walker
Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images/AFP

76ers vs Celtics First-Round Series Schedule

Date

Match

Time

Broadcast

Game 1: Monday, Aug. 17 76ers vs Celtics 6:30 p.m. ET ESPN
Game 2: Wednesday, Aug. 19 76ers vs Celtics  6:30 p.m. ET TNT
Game 3: Friday, Aug. 21 Celtics vs 76ers 6:30 p.m. ET TNT
Game 4: Sunday, Aug. 23 Celtics vs 76ers  1 p.m. ET ABC
Game 5*: Tuesday, Aug. 25 76ers vs Celtics  TBD TBD
Game 6*: Thursday, Aug. 27 Celtics vs 76ers  TBD ESPN
Game 7*: Saturday, Aug. 29 76ers vs Celtics TBD TNT

Head-to-Head

You can check out the matchup page for an up-to-date injury report and head-to-head stats. The 76ers won the season series, 3-1. Boston handed Philly a 116-95 beat down at home the last time the teams played on Feb. 1. Boston was 1.5-point favorites with an over/under set to 212.

The Sixers won the other three games by an average of more than 10 points. These teams entered the year as two of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference. They opened the regular season on Oct. 23 with a battle that the 76ers won at home 107-93. Philly was a 5.5-point favorite and the O/U was 215.5. 

On Dec. 12, Philly traveled to Boston as one-point underdogs and left with a 115-109 victory. The over/under was 212.5 for the game. A little less than a month later the 76ers played host to the Celtics as one-point underdogs. The Sixers won, 109-98, with an O/U of 218.

In the Bubble

The Boston Celtics finished their eight seeding games with a 5-3 record. They were locked into the No. 3 seed with four games remaining. Amidst their four-game winning streak, Boston posted its most impressive restart victory over the second-seeded Toronto Raptors. When the Celtics beat the Raptors, 122-100, the No. 2 seed in the East was still a slight possibility. The Celtics enter the playoffs healthy and ready to prove they can win the Eastern Conference and make their first NBA Finals since 2010.

The Philadelphia 76ers are not as fortunate as the Celtics. All-Star Ben Simmons had season-ending knee surgery on Aug. 10. The Sixers ended their eight seeding games 4-4. They beat the Spurs, Pacers, Wizards, and a Rockets team that was resting its star players. It was an underwhelming restart for the Sixers, a team with Finals aspirations heading into the season. 

Celtics Breakdown

Depth: The Celtics are deep. They have the NBA’s deepest two-way wings and are the only team that finished top five in offensive and defensive efficiency. A new player can step up and be the difference on any given night. The Celtics are healthy at the right time and they seem to have more chemistry than in years past. 

Size: Although the Celtics have many players that can contribute, they are lacking some dudes with size. C Robert Williams has been receiving more minutes and is expected to play a bigger role. In the first round, Williams will be expected to take on one of the league’s best centers Joel Embiid. If Williams gets into foul trouble or merely cannot hang with Embiid, then Celtics coach Brad Stevens will have to figure out an answer with a much smaller lineup than the Sixers play. 

Kemba Walker: All-Star G Kemba Walker is a key member of these Celtics. He seems to be getting healthy at the right time after he reinjured his left knee a few weeks before the season hiatus. Walker has been easing his way back. He has scored almost seven points less than before the restart, but he has been super-efficient. His shooting percentage and 3-point percentage before the break were 42% and 38%. Since entering the bubble he is shooting 47.9% from the floor and 41.4% from “3.”. 

Sixers Breakdown

Simmons’ absence: The lack of Simmons’ presence will most definitely be felt on the defensive end. He led the league in steals and was the Sixers’ primary defender against All-Star Jason Taytum. Simmons also is a serious weapon in the Sixers’ fast-break offense. They average 12.6 fast break points per 36 minutes with Simmons on the floor, compared to 7.6 points per 36 without him. 

It’s not all bad for the Sixers without Simmons though. In the three games Simmons played since the restart, the 76ers scored 108.1 points per 100 possessions and were outscored by 7.3 points per 100 possessions. With him on the sideline, the 76ers have averaged 121.3 points per 100 possessions and have outscored opponents by 3.7 points per 100 possessions.

Al Horford: C Al Horford was a Celtic for last year’s playoffs. This year he is a key member of the Sixer’s frontcourt. He knows the Celtics better than anyone and he will be matched against one of their dynamic wing players. Horford will not only need to play great defense but also provide some points in the paint on the smaller defenders. 

3-point shooting: In Simmons’ absence, the 76ers have a chance to put better shooters on the floor. They ranked ninth in the regular season shooting 36.8% from “3.” Boston ranks second in opponent 3-point shooting percentage at 34%. Philly’s role players will need to take advantage of Boston’s double teams on Embiid and hit their open shots with high efficiency. 

Championship Odds

Boston started the preseason with the ninth-best odds to win the NBA Finals at +2900. The Celtics enter the playoffs sitting at +1300. Boston has gotten better as the season has gone on. Now with a healthy roster and great team chemistry, the Celtics are poised to make a run. 

The 76ers had the fifth-best preseason Championship odds at +775. Our NBA Championship page is now listing the Sixers at +4500. “The Process” is no longer being trusted and many people doubt this team can make it out of the first round. It seems Pilly is headed for an interesting offseason with a lot of questions to answer.

Odds to Win Series

It would take a heroic performance from Embiid and his supporting cast to knock off the Sixers’ oldest rivals. SF Glenn Robinson III will most likely miss the entire series with an oblique injury, and who knows if Embiid will be able to stay healthy. Check out our NBA series prices page to bet on this series and on the entire first-round action.

Philadelphia 76ers: +350

Boston Celtics: -450

Over/Under: TBD

Prediction: Celtics in 6

Embiid will be the obvious best player on the floor and it will not matter. A healthy Embiid can not play for 48 minutes, let alone a man dealing with aches and pains. It would put his name in conversations with some greats if he can carry his team deep into these playoffs, but don’t bet on it. 

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