76ers vs. Celtics: How to Bet the Total in Friday's Clash

Action Network contributor Chris Baker offers up a 76ers vs. Celtics prediction for Friday.

76ers vs. Celtics Odds

76ers Odds +7
Celtics Odds -7
Moneyline +215 / -260
Over/Under 224.5
Time Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here’s everything you need to know about 76ers vs. Celtics on Friday, Dec. 1 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.

The 76ers will travel to Boston to take on the Celtics for the third time this season. Can the 76ers take a 2-1 lead in the season series? Or will the Celtics overcome their injuries and prevail at home? Let’s break this down.

Let’s get to our 76ers vs. Celtics prediction and pick.

76ers vs. Celtics Prediction

Pick: Over 224.5

The Celtics have been the best team in the NBA as they rank first in net-rating (+10.2) and sit comfortably atop the East at 14-4. It’s hard to find a weakness with this team as they rank top-five in both offensive and defensive rating, while also ranking first in offensive 3-point attempt rate. I’ve been impressed with their start as it hasn’t really been predicated on outlier shooting — Boston ranks just 16th in 3-point accuracy (36.7%).

Boston’s only weakness is its depth as the Celtics don’t have many reliable bench players outside of Payton Pritchard and Sam Hauser. Focusing on this matchup, the Celtics will have to find a way to contain Joel Embiid without center Kristaps Porzingis. Al Horford has historically done a good job of defending Embiid, but if Horford gets into foul trouble the Celtics may have to turn to Luke Kornet, which would likely be a disaster. Look for the Celtics to send help and force Embiid to pass.

The 76ers have been almost as impressive as the Celtics, ranking third in net-rating despite playing the seventh-most difficult schedule. I like the team Philadelphia has assembled around Tyrese Maxey and Embiid as virtually everyone can guard multiple positions and knock down the 3. The 76ers’ ball movement has been markedly better without James Harden. Additionally, Philadelphia has been more efficient, ranking second in offensive rating on the year. I expect the 76ers to come out with plenty of energy as Embiid essentially rested last game in preparation for this one.

>> Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds, track your bets and follow all of our experts’ picks.

These teams have split the season series thus far, but I was been impressed with Boston’s ability to generate 3s in both games. The Celtics haven’t hit at an above-average rate on those looks, but if the shots start falling, I could see the Celtics winning with margin.

However, I have concerns about the defense without Porzingis. Horford is a good defender, but he is 37-years-old and doesn’t have the same rim deterring presence that Porzingis has. I expect the 76ers to generate good half-court shots and also be able to get out in transition a bit more since the Celtics will be taking so many 3s. The 76ers rank third in transition offensive rating and 13th in transition rate this season.

76ers vs. Celtics Picks, Odds

I expect there to be plenty of points in this one, so I’ll be looking to take Over 224.5.  The 76ers have a decided advantage in the half court with Embiid, while the Celtics should be able to generate lots of clean 3s. Both of these teams rank in the top five in offensive rating and in the top seven in half-court offensive rating, so it doesn’t really matter whether this game is played in transition. The Celtics’ season-long defensive numbers look great, but I expect them to fade a little bit without Porzingis, their primary rim protector, over the next few weeks. Take Over 224.5 in Boston on Friday night.

Pick: Over 224.5