NBA Betting Picks March 20 – Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:

As chaotic as the season has been for the Boston Celtics, they can take solace in knowing that they own the Philadelphia 76ers.


The Cs go for the season sweep of their Atlantic Division rival on Wednesday while attempting to gain ground in the East playoff race.

Currently fifth in the conference, the Celtics trail Indiana by a half game and are three back of the Sixers, who will play the second of a back-to-back after edging out Charlotte on Tuesday.

Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers

Date and Time: Wednesday, March 20, 2019, 7 p.m. ET

Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

Opening NBA Odds: Philadelphia -2, O/U 226

Celtics at 76ers TV Coverage: ESPN


Odds Analysis

It’s hard to overlook what the Celtics have done to the Sixers recently. Boston won the first three meetings this season after eliminating Philly in five games in last year’s playoffs. They’ve also won 17 of the last 19 regular season meetings. Many of those wins came when the Sixers were trusting the process, but the spell continued even when the clubs reached a level of closeness. The Cs responded to a stretch that saw them lose four in a row and five of six by going 5-1 prior to a home loss to Denver on Monday. Boston dropped a pair of games blowing big leads in both before its last matchup with Philly. Without Kyrie Irving, the Celtics won 112-109.

While the Sixers try to fend off teams below them in the standings, they have their sights set on a higher finish. Currently No. 3, they trail the Raptors by four games and have applied pressure by winning five in a row. Philly will play the second game of a back-to-back and they’ve struggled in those games with just a 3-7 SU and ATS record. Their last back-to-back ended with a loss to the lowly Bulls. This will be the first time they complete a set at home where the Sixers look to improve their 28-9 record.



The team is loaded with talent, but it was Boston’s veteran leaders that got them out of a recent slide. Kyrie, Al Horford and Gordon Hayward all chipped with the biggest output coming from Hayward, who scored 30 points in a win at Golden State that got the run of five wins in seven games started. And just when Gordo was starting to feel like a member of the club, he went down with concussion-like symptoms and won’t be available on Wednesday.

Over a five-game stretch starting with the Dubs, Hayward hit double-figures four times and averaged 15 points, about five points per game over his season average. Irving scored 30 against Denver for his third straight game with at least that many points and his fourth in the last five outings. Horford chipped in with 20 points. Boston hasn’t been the best road team this season, but they’ve enjoyed success in Philly’s gym winning three straight and eight of the last nine.


Joel Embiid doesn’t play both ends of a back-to-back and the coaching staff lets him decide which game to play. A clear sign of how important it is to beat the Celtics, Embiid chose this game to suit up. Without Embiid, the Sixers extended their winning streak to five straight by knocking off Charlotte 118-114 on Tuesday. Four of the starting five reached the 20-point mark with Ben Simmons leading the way with 28. J.J. Redick netted seven three-pointers for 27 points with Jimmy Butler tossing in 23 and Tobias Harris adding 22 and 11 boards.

Philly got little from its bench with James Ennis the only reserve scoring. When the starters fill it up like they did, they don’t need a bench. They will need some help against the Celtics deep roster, but with Embiid back on the floor he’ll eat up some of the minutes and produce his usual numbers. On Sunday against the Bucks, he went for 40 points and 15 rebounds while adding six assists and three steals. He’ll be ready for this one.


Bet Celtics at 76ers at

Philly’s in a tough spot with four starters playing over 37 minutes in Tuesday’s win in Charlotte. And they were stressful minutes with the game not decided until the final seconds. That has to affect the players in some form. And given the mastery Boston has had it’s not a stretch to think the Cs will get another victory. The Celtics are in Philly’s head and if Embiid can’t control his emotions, Boston wins again. I like the Sixers but they weren’t given any help by the schedule makers, and that’s what eventually gets Boston a narrow victory.

NBA Score Prediction: Celtics 115, 76ers 112

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