Sixers vs Celtics – Game 1 Pick for April 30th
On Monday, the Philadelphia 76ers travel to Boston to take on the Celtics who are coming off a tough 7-game series against the Bucks, which ended on Saturday. Boston had no time to rest between these two series and could’ve definitely used it as they will most likely be without their talented shooting guard Jaylen Brown who injured his hamstring in Game 7 against the Bucks.
Brown has been listed as doubtful, but even if he does play, he will be severely limited. Brown stepped up in the first round against the Bucks as he averaged 17.9 ppg and 4.7 rebounds per game. Against Philly on the season, Brown averaged 11 ppg, 4.5 RPG and 2 APG.
The Celtics went 3-1 against the 76ers this year and look to continue that winning trend in the playoffs. For those of you who love historical numbers, this is the 20th time these two teams have met in the playoffs as they renew one of the league’s all-time best rivalries.
The Sixers are coming off a series win over the Miami Heat, which was their first series win since 2012. They will be well-rested, which benefits them greatly as it has given center Joel Embiid more time to get acclimated after he returned from injury during the opening round of the playoffs. Embiid played in 3 games against the Heat and finished with an average of 18.7 ppg, 10.3 RPG, and 3 blocks per game. For the season, Embiid averaged 22.9 ppg and 11 RPG. Against the Celtics, Joel averaged 17.3 ppg, 13.3 RPG and 4.7 assists per game.
In addition to the talented Embiid, the Celtics are going to have to contend with Ben Simmons who played tremendously well against the Heat as he averaged 18.2 ppg, 10.6 ppg and 9.0 assists per game. He also added 2.4 steals per game. Simmons was clearly the Sixers MVP of that series and will provide Boston with potential matchup problems. JJ Redick led the Sixers with 20 ppg against the Heat as he opened up the floor, with his long-range shooting, for Simmons and Embiid.
For the series, Boston will need Al Horford to continue playing at a high level both offensively and defensively. Horford was the MVP for Boston in Round 1 as he averaged 18.1 ppg, 8.7 RPG, and 3.3 APG. He played his best game of the series in Game 7 as he finished with 26 points and 8 rebounds. Unfortunately for Al, he will have to take on Simmons and Embiid in this exciting Round 2 series.
With little rest and the potential absence of Brown, I don’t see Boston having enough energy and talent on the floor to beat Philadelphia. I like what the 76ers are doing in these playoffs. They look explosive and have some pundits buzzing over their chances of winning the Eastern Conference.
We’re going with the 76ers and the moneyline in this game for a few reasons. First, we can’t be sure how well Boston will play with little rest and a limited or out Jaylen Brown. So, this affects both the Total and the Spread. Also, we don’t know how the layoff will impact Philly’s scoring or energy level, which also affects both the spread and the total. With that said, the safe bet in Game 1 of this series is Philly to win the game outright. I think it will either be a close victory for Philly (3 to 4 points) or a blowout win for the 76ers (12+ points).
Philly is 4-1 SU over their last 5 games, 20-1 SU over their last 21 games, and 5-0 SU in their last 5 road games. They averaged 108.3 ppg on the road this season and 114.2 ppg in the playoffs so far. Philly is also 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 overall games. The road team has gone 8-3 ATS in the last 11 head-to-head meetings between these two teams.
Bet: Philadelphia moneyline at -170
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