76ers vs. Celtics Game 5: Back Boston to Cover at Home

Action Network contributor Jacob McKenna previews 76ers vs. Celtics Game 5, which includes odds and a betting pick for the NBA Eastern Conference semifinal series.

76ers vs. Celtics Odds

76ers Odds +7
Celtics Odds -7
Over/Under 214
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics make their way back to TD Garden to continue their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The series is tied at two games apiece entering Game 5 as both teams have won a game at home and on the road. Each team is essentially at full strength as well, setting up what will likely be another great matchup.

Boston’s had the upper hand on Philadelphia all season, and even when it was down nearly 20 points in Game 4, the Celtics came back to nearly steal a second game on the road. Can Philly clean some things up and get over the hump, or will Boston continue its dominance on home court?

Let’s take a look at the matchup and make a betting pick for 76ers vs. Celtics Game 5.

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Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers may have tied the series, but getting to this point has been far from easy for the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed.

Their issues start on the defensive end. Per, Philly owns a 123.7 Defensive Rating through the first four games of the series, which is the lowest of the remaining playoff teams by 5.1 points.

A big reason why that rating is so high is due to Philadelphia’s interior defense. Boston scored 24 more points in the paint in Game 1 than Philadelphia (although Joel Embiid was sidelined for this game). However, the Celtics still own a +6 paint points margin in Games 2-4 with Embiid on the floor.

Additionally, the 76ers are allowing the Celtics to shoot 38% from beyond the arc. Three-point shooting was perhaps Philly’s largest asset during the regular season and in Round 1, but the 76ers have shot almost 3.0% worse from deep against Boston when compared to their performance against Brooklyn.

The 76ers are getting beat from three and in the paint, a bad combination in a best-of-seven series.

Boston Celtics

Boston has significant advantages in this matchup, but perhaps the largest is its bench production.

The Celtics bench didn’t appear to have a significant advantage over Philadelphia during the regular season. According to StatMuse, Boston ranked 20th in bench points per game with 32.4; Philadelphia was right on its heels at 32.3.

But through the first four games, Boston’s bench has outscored Philadelphia 124-82, showing that gap in bench production has been much wider than regular season numbers suggest.

Malcolm Brogdon is a big reason for that 42-point gap. He is averaging 19.25 points per game in the series, with most of his production coming from three, where he is shooting 53.3%.

Both Philly and Boston only go three or four guys deep, but no one on Philadelphia’s bench has been able to match Brogdon’s production.

76ers-Celtics Pick

The inconsistency of Philadelphia’s offense has often held them back in the past, and I think that is going to be its biggest hurdle moving forward.

James Harden scored 45 points in the series opener, a game where every point was necessary. He then fell off in Games 2 and 3 (28 points combined) before erupting for 42 in Game 4. However, even with Harden crossing the 40-point mark twice, the 76ers won by just a combined five points in those matchups, even with Embiid scoring 34 points in Game 4.

Being able to match Philadelphia from three is crucial to beating the 76ers, and the Celtics have been able to do that. Combine the 3-point shooting with Boston’s bench advantage and I think we see Boston take care of business at home on Tuesday night. I would play the spread to 8.5.

Pick: Celtics -7 | Play to -8.5