Our Prediction for Celtics vs. 76ers
The Boston Celtics are the deeper team with three stars in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Jrue Holiday. Kristaps Porzingis is close to being considered a fourth superstar. But the Sixers have been getting massive efforts from Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, and they will spend the rest of December incorporating the players they received from the Clippers in the James Harden deal. Robert Covington was a starter Friday night against Atlanta, and Marcus Morris Sr. could eventually end up a full-time starter, too. Also, they already had Tobias Harris, who had a 29-point, ten-rebound double-double against the Hawks.
Both teams are super loaded, and although the Celtics will probably be a slight favorite for the Dec. 1 game because it is being played in Boston, we see it as a toss-up. The Sixers are still going through an evolutionary process with their new guys, and the truer test of the better team may come in that final regular season matchup on February 27. By then, the trade deadline will have passed, and both teams may have tweaked their rosters.
- ✅ Tyrese Maxey appears to be running away with the Most Improved Player Award. On November 18, he was listed as the even-money favorite for the award, averaging 26.9 points and 6.8 assists.
- ❎ The car accident that sidelined Kelly Oubre Jr. (he was hit by a car near his Philadelphia residence, fracturing a rib) will keep him out until early December. That one could have been worse.
- ✅ Ridding themselves of James Harden and all the drama surrounding him was a blessing for Philly. It opened up the point guard job for Maxey, who is playing like an All-Star, and it brought in two toughened veterans in Covington and Morris and Nicolas Batum, who will be assets moving forward. Coach Nick Nurse must find the best fit for both of them.
- ✅ Boston already has a pair of five-game winning streaks and has a relatively easy schedule between now and the net matchup with the Sixers. A litmus test game will take place Nov. 22 at home against Milwaukee.
- ✅ Regarding veteran depth, the Sixers have the Celtics beat for now. Boston has been using Sam Hauser more lately, but Al Horford is not the steady contributor he once was, and we would not be surprised to see general manager Brad Stevens go hunting for another big man.
Injury Report for 76ers:
- Oubre Jr. has a loose timetable for return in early December as he recovers from his fractured rib, so that will be a day-to-day thing. Batum has been out recently for personal reasons.
Injury Report for Celtics:
- The Celtics are not currently on deadline with any injury issues. Porzingis (knee contusion), Brown (non-COVID illness), and Horford (toe sprain) have returned from their absences.
Important Betting Numbers
76ers vs. Celtics spread: This game has no point spread listed yet. The only down-the-road Boston - 1 1/2 vs. the Lakers on Christmas, and Philadelphia + 1 1/2 vs. Miami the same day.
76ers vs. Celtics over/under: Not yet available.
76ers vs. Celtics money line: Not yet available.
Why You Should Bet on Boston: This will be a home game for the Celtics, who have not lost at TD Garden through the first 12 games.
Why You Should Bet on Philadelphia: This franchise has been rejuvenated by the play of Maxey, a speedster who dribbled the ball about 1,000 times less than Harden used to.
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Betting Tips for This Game
Assuming injuries do not take out any key players, we will have at least four All-Stars playing in this Friday night showcase game, and both coaches will be looking for a statement victory to begin the month. In the first two meetings, the team that got the better bench production was the winner. Right now, Philly looks like the deeper team, but the Celtics are committed to bigger roles for Sam Hauser and Peyton Pritchard, something we will watch closely up until the trade deadline because Boston, more than Philadelphia, may need a roster tweak before the postseason.
With the way Embiid and Tatum have been playing, each may want to do something dominant to take some steam out of the "Nikola Jokic is a sure thing MVP" argument.
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Chris Sheridan is a veteran NBA Writer who has been covering the league since 1992, with a specialty in international basketball after being credentialed for every Olympics since 1996-Atlanta. He has been writing in the sports gambling journalism space since PASPA was overturned in 2018, and age 58 he still can drain the 3-pointer and can dunk with the help of a ladder.