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Sixers Seek to Avenge Playoff Series Loss to Celtics

Boston and Philadelphia are expected to contend for Eastern Conference supremacy – if they can only get their rosters in order. The Celtics (8-4 SU, 7-5 ATS) and 76ers (9-5 SU, 7-6-1 ATS) have been ravaged by injury and COVID-related absences as they duel Wednesday. Boston still has absences due to health and safety protocols, while Philly will at least have Joel Embiid back.

Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers
  • Date/Time: January 20, 7 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Wells Fargo Center
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • Opening Odds: 76ers -5.5 | O/U 220 (Line History)
  • Celtics vs Sixers Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Philadelphia kicked things off as a 5.5-point favorite; bettors can still find that number, but it’s down to -5 in some spots. The total opened at 220 but has since fallen 2 points.

Boston News & Notes

This was supposed to be a marquee matchup – but some of the luster is missing from the Celtics side, with star forward Jayson Tatum sitting this one out due to COVID-19 protocols. The good news for Boston: there’s a chance Tatum will be activated in time for Friday’s rematch. Tatum has been one of the NBA’s best players to date, averaging 26.9 points and 7.1 rebounds.

Look for Jaylen Brown to once again be the offensive focal point in Tatum’s absence. The fifth-year guard is averaging career highs in scoring (25.8) and assists (3.8) while shooting nearly 53 percent from the field.

He should also get more support from fellow guard Kemba Walker, who looked rusty in his season debut Sunday vs New York (nine points on 3-for-13 shooting).

Philadelphia News & Notes

Embiid sat out Saturday’s game against the Grizzlies and would also have missed Sunday’s date in Oklahoma City had that game not been canceled. The Sixers missed him in Memphis, dropping a 106-104 decision in which they were outrebounded 66-51 while allowing 15 offensive boards. Embiid enters Wednesday’s action ranked sixth in the NBA with 11.5 rebounds per game.

Not only will Embiid be back in the fold, he’ll undoubtedly have redemption on his mind as he looks to erase the memory of the 76ers’ humbling four-game sweep in the opening round of last year’s playoffs. That elimination was no fault of Embiid’s – he averaged 30.0 points and 12.3 rebounds in the series while adding 1.3 blocks and 1.5 steals.

Betting Pick: 76ers -5 (-110)

Tatum’s absence will loom large here, with Philadelphia well-positioned to atone for last year’s playoff sweep against a Boston team that won’t be able to keep up.

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Shark Bites
  • Boston is 4-1 ATS in its past 5 games.
  • Philadelphia is 7-1 SU in its last 8 home games.
  • The Celtics are 5-0 in the last 5 games in this matchup.