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Celtics, 76ers Likely to Get Defensive on Friday

Joel Embiid got his long-awaited revenge victory and looked dominant in the process. Now, it’s the Boston Celtics’ turn to respond as they visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday in what should be an entertaining rematch. Embiid’s 42 points led the 76ers (10-5 SU, 8-6-1 ATS) to a 117-109 win Wednesday, and the Celtics (8-5 SU, 7-6 ATS) will still be without their best player Friday.

Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers
  • Date/Time: January 22, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Wells Fargo Center
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • Opening Odds: 76ers -5 | O/U 222.5 (Line History)
  • Celtics vs 76ers Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Philadelphia opened as a 5-point favorite, though you’ll find the odd -4.5 out there depending on where you shop. The total for Friday’s game is set at 222.5, which is 2 points higher than the total for Wednesday’s encounter.

Boston News & Notes

Jayson Tatum will miss his fourth consecutive game as he continues to recover from COVID-19 – and his absence puts even more pressure on the rest of the Boston offense, which shot well Wednesday but couldn’t make up for a 45-20 deficit in free-throw attempts. The Celtics boast an average free-throw differential of -3.2, fifth-worst in the NBA entering Friday’s action.

Boston’s chances of victory (or even a cover) will improve greatly if it can get more out of point guard Kemba Walker, who will play in his third game since returning from a knee injury.

Walker was ice-cold in his first game back but scored 19 points in his second – and with his minutes limit rising as high as 28 minutes Friday, he should be even more of an offensive factor in the rematch.

Philadelphia News & Notes

It all came together for the ultra-talented Embiid last time out. He shot 12-for-19 from the field and was 17 of 21 from the foul line while adding 10 rebounds in one of his best performances of the season. He also had just one turnover in 33 minutes in the statement victory (he averages 3.0 turnovers for the year) as Philadelphia prevailed 16-9 in the turnover battle.

Embiid didn’t do it alone, with four other players scoring in double figures, including Ben Simmons, who had 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. While Simmons remains one of the best passing and rebounding guards in the league, his scoring average of 12.2 is easily the lowest of his career – and he has finished below that average in five straight games.

Betting Pick: UNDER 222.5 (-110)

The teams have paced down to below the league average over their past few games and aren’t likely to combine for so many foul shots in Friday’s rematch, so the UNDER looks like the superior play here.

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Shark Bites
  • Boston is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games.
  • The OVER is 5-0 in Philadelphia’s last 5 home games.
  • The UNDER is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings in Philadelphia.