The Philadelphia 76ers host the Boston Celtics in the third match of their conference semi-final on Friday. After two matches in Massachusetts, the best of seven series switches to the Wells Fargo Center for the next two matches. The 76ers are in decent position heading into their two home games. Can they cash in? Let’s take a look with our latest NBA playoffs betting picks.
Yes, with the series tied at 1-1, and with two home games ahead for Philadelphia, you would be forgiven for thinking they are in a good position. But such was the mauling they received from the Celtics on Wednesday, the 76ers may not now feel as confident as they previously did.
The 121-87 win for Boston leveled up the series, after Philadelphia won the opening match in Boston 119-115. In the betting to win the series, the best NBA playoffs betting sites now have Boston at -260, and the 76ers at +220.
In the betting to win the Eastern Conference, the Celtics are the -145 favorites, with the 76ers at +300. The New York Knicks are at +600, and the Miami Heat at +675. It seems fair to say the top sportsbooks feel the winner of the conference will come from the winner of the Boston vs Philadelphia series.
Moving on, Boston are also the favorites to win the 2023 NBA Championship. The best NBA betting sites have the Celtics at +175 to win the championship for a record 18th time. The Celtics closest betting rivals are the Denver Nuggets (+400) and the LA Lakers (+425).
Fourth in the betting is the Philadelphia 76ers at +700. Prior to Wednesday night’s thrashing, the 76ers had been +500.
Full betting to win the 2023 NBA Championship can be found on our odds table below. More information about the bookmakers we use for our odds can be found on our online sportsbook reviews page.
|Full Betting to Win 2023 NBA Championship|
|Golden State Warriors||+750||+750||+750|
|New York Knicks||+2000||+2000||+2000|
If anybody doubted the Celtics after they lost the opening match of the series, I think we can safely say they may have been reassured by Wednesday night’s result. The Celtics were simply unstoppable at TD Garden, smashing the 76ers 121-87, in what was the joint-third highest winning margin in franchise playoff history.
The win ties the series at 1-1, and with the series now heading to Philadelphia for matches three and four, sets it up perfectly for the neutrals.
But what about the 76ers? How do they recover from this? Well, they have to take heart from the fact that they finished third in the Eastern Conference table, just three wins behind the Celtics. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a huge gap. But at the same time, when we get to the top level, small margins count for a lot.
The 76ers will be bruised after the loss in the second match. And it’s times like this that we find out what Doc Rivers and his franchise team are really made of. And make no mistake, the pressure is on Rivers and the 76ers. If they lose this, they know they have lost the away win advantage they gained with the win at TD Garden in the opening match of the series.
And once that is lost, they will really start to feel the heat.
Home advantage for the 76ers hasn’t quite seen them installed as the betting favorites to win the match. On the moneyline, Philadelphia are just odds against at +103, with the Celtics at -123.
On the handicap spread, the 76ers have a start of +1.5 points. BetOnline have priced both the 76ers (+1.5) and the Celtics (-1.5) up at -110 in this market. Finally, the total points spread is 214, with both over and under at -110.
In the regular-season, the Celtics had a 3-1 record over the 76ers. The Celtics won the first three by margins of nine, seven, and three. The 76ers won the final match by a margin of two points. In the 76ers win over Boston in this series, the margin was four points.
The general state of play between these two franchises this season is that the Celtics have had the upper hand. And when the 76ers have been on top, they have only won by small margins.
On Wednesday, Jaylen Brown (25 points) and Malcolm Brogdon (23) scored the bulk of the points. But there were significant contributions from Derrick White (15), Marcus Smart (15), and Grant Williams (12) as well. In short, it was a brilliant team performance. There was no one player carrying the burden of the team. And this is what makes us think the Celtics will again be too strong for Philadelphia on Friday.
Odds of -123 on the Celtics to win on the moneyline seems okay to us. But looking at the stats, whenever Boston has beaten the 76ers this season, it has been by a bigger margin than the spread. So for our betting pick, we are going for the Celtics to cover the spread and win on the handicap market.