Celtics vs 76ers Picks and Predictions: Tatum, Strong Defense Lead to Boston's 4th Straight Win

The Celtics have a modest three-game winning streak as they head into Philadelphia to face the 76ers. Will Jayson Tatum & Co. elevate Boston to a 4th straight victory or will Joel Embiid help prove the spread right? Read our NBA betting picks to find out.

Last Updated: Jan 13, 2022 9:21 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Jayson Tatum Boston Celtics NBA
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The Boston Celtics are riding a modest three-game winning streak all the way to Philadelphia for a date with the 76ers. Despite losing to the Hornets on Wednesday, the Sixers are red-hot, going 8-2 over their last 10.

Will Philly rebound and end Boston's winning ways? Let's dive deeper with our best free NBA betting picks and predictions for the Celtics vs. 76ers on Friday night with tip slated for 7 p.m, ET.

Celtics vs 76ers odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The 76ers opened as 3-point home favorites and that has ticked up slightly to -3.5 at some books at the time of this writing. The total opened at 212 and hasn't changed.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until tip-off and be sure to check out the full NBA odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Celtics vs 76ers predictions

Predictions made on 01/13/2022 at 9:15 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Celtics vs 76ers game info

Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Date: Friday, January 14, 2022
Tip-off: 9:00 p.m. ET
TV: NBCS-Philadelphia, NBCS-Boston

Celtics vs 76ers betting preview

Injuries

Celtics: Marcus Smart PG (Questionable).
76ers: Jaden Springer PG (Out), Shake Milton PG (Out), Danny Green SG (Out), Ben Simmons SG (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 7-1 in the 76ers' last eight home games, and Philly is 5-1 against the spread in its last six overall. Find more NBA betting trends for Celtics vs. 76ers.

Celtics vs 76ers picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

Recent results dictate that both the Celtics and 76ers are playing some solid basketball. The Celtics have won three in a row, and while that sounds nice on the surface, it includes a pair of wins over the 15-27 Indiana Pacers - a team on the verge of being blown up - and one against the New York Knicks, who have underachieved almost as much as Boston. 

With a two-headed monster like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the way on offense - each averaging around 25 points per game - the Celtics should be faring better than .500. The talent is there but the results aren't.

The 76ers, meanwhile, had rattled off seven straight wins before Wednesday's 109-98 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. But, like the Celtics, the caliber of opponent was rather suspect. While they did pull off a win over Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets, they also beat the Rockets (twice), Spurs, Magic, Wizards, and Raptors. Three of those teams are circling the drain at the bottom of the league, and neither Washington nor Toronto are setting the world on fire. And it's worth noting that the Raptors didn't have Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, or OG Anunoby active in that game.

The trouble here is these teams are fairly evenly matched. They're both middle-of-the-road in terms of offensive efficiency, with Philly ranking 12th and Boston 16th. They play a nearly identical plodding pace and while the Sixers tend to shoot more efficiently from the floor, the Celtics play tighter all-around defense. 

And though Philadelphia won the previous meeting, Tatum had trouble scoring and Boston struggled from long range (25.9% shooting on 27 3-point attempts). The 76ers may be getting the edge simply because of a perceived home-court advantage, but they've been a mixed bag at the Wells Fargo Center, going 8-9 on the season. The Celtics don't particularly travel well, but with Tatum starting to come around (he scored 33 on Wednesday while shooting 57.9% and 44% from beyond the arc) and Boston ranking fifth in the league in defensive efficiency, I like the road team to pull off the slight upset.

Prediction: Celtics +3.5 (-110)

Only three teams in the NBA play at a slower pace than this pair. The last time these two played each other, the final score came in just below the total set for this latest encounter. That shouldn't be the primary indication that this game will follow suit - and if both Tatum and Brown have big nights, it may not - but it serves as an example that neither team can be counted on for high-scoring games.

Sixers center Joel Embiid is their engine, averaging 27.1 points and 10.5 rebounds in his 29 games played. However, it's a steep drop-off in production after him with Tobias Harris second on the team at 18.4. At their best, the Sixers spread the love around. When they struggle, as they did against a Hornets team that normally features a porous defense, they become something of a one-man show.

Containing Embiid might not even be an option, but the savvy Celtics defense can probably limit the damage from other spots on the floor. Either way, this will be a grind. 

Prediction: Under 212 (-110)

The Celtics have been so mercurial this season that putting too much faith in them continuing even the most modest of winning streaks feels like a fool's errand. Instead, with how methodical the Celtics and Sixers typically play, backing the Under is the right call.

When markets open up, it might be worth taking a look at the Over/Under on made threes from Tatum. Two games ago, Tatum went 0 for 7 from deep. He rebounded in the rematch against Indiana and hit 4 of 9. Philly defends the perimeter decently well, limiting opponents to 34.4% from 3-point range, but that shouldn't prevent Tatum from taking his shots. If it's set below four, take the Over.

Until then, go with the Under on the game total.

Pick: Under 212 (-110)

NBA parlays

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