Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
When: Tuesday, October 16, 8:00 PM. ET.
The 2018 NBA Season kicks off on Tuesday night with a potential Eastern Conference playoff finals matchup between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics, two of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference now that LeBron James has taken his talents out west.
Sixers Have Sights On First Division Title In 18 Years
The Atlantic Division will be one of the most competitive in the NBA this season with three championship contenders in the division. The 76ers, who finished third in the division last year behind the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics, will be trying to claim their first Atlantic Division title since the 2001 season when Allen Iverson led the 76ers to the NBA Finals.
Hi, my name is ____________ .
I'm from ______________ .
One fun fact about myself is ________________________________ .
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) October 15, 2018
The 76ers will also be trying to avenge last season’s playoff loss to the Celtics, who defeated them in five games last season.
Joel Embiid, who had a breakout season last year, is one of the favorites to win the league MVP award this season. The big man averaged 22.9 points, 11 rebounds and 1.8 points per game last season while playing a career-high 63 games.
2017 Rookie of the year, Ben Simmons, who averaged 15.8 points, 8.2 assists, and 8.1 rebounds per game last season, is going to be a matchup problem for a lot of teams this season.
The 76ers were relatively quiet during the offseason, but they improved their bench with the additions of Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala, who are expected to get significant playing time despite coming off the bench.
Head coach Brett Brown did make a chance to his starting lineup, making Markelle Fultz a starter and sending J.J Redick to the bench, making it the first time in four seasons that Redick will be coming off the bench. The move to bench Redick is an interesting one because the 76ers outscored by 268 points in 601 minutes when Redick was in the starting lineup, which was the best plus lineup in the league last season.
Fultz averaged nine points per game while shooting 43 percent from the field during the preseason.
Like they did last year, the 76ers will rely heavily on Embiid and Simmons, but they should have a lot of help from their improved bench this season.
Celtics Hoping To Stay Healthy This Season
The Celtics pushed the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, despite not having two of their best players, who missed the playoffs with injuries. Now that they have a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics will be out to prove they are the best team in the Eastern Conference this season.
The Celtics, who went 1-3 in the preseason, were one of the best defensive teams in the league last year. Their defense will be put to the test on Tuesday against a 76ers team that was the highest scoring team that was the seventh-highest scoring team in the league last season.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 15, 2018
With Hayward and Irving back in the lineup, there will be an adjustment period as players try to figure out their role on the team.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who broke out in the playoffs averaging 18.5 points and 18 points respectively, will likely have to sacrifice some minutes, splitting time with Hayward, who plays the same position.
The Celtics have the upper hand going into this game because they have won 14 of the last 16 regular season meetings between the two teams. With the team having its full squad for the first time in a year, it will be interesting to see if they can keep the trend going.
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. NBA Atlantic.
- 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games following an ATS loss.
- 19-7 ATS in their last 26 home games.
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. Eastern Conference.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Celtics have been great against the spread, winning five of their last six games against Atlantic Division opponents and 11 of their last 14 games after an ATS loss. The 76ers have struggled against the spread in their last five games, and have lost four of their last five games against Eastern Conference opponents.
Prediction: Boston Celtics -4.5
Full-Game Total Pick
The total has gone over in six of Philadelphia’s last seven road games and in their last four games when playing after three or more days rest. The total has also gone over in 14 of Boston’s last 19 games after an ATS loss, and in nine of the last 12 games between the two teams when they play in Boston.
Prediction: Over 208.5
Full-Game Prop Bet
The 76ers averaged 109.7 points per game last season, which was seventh in the league. The team also averaged 114. points during the preseason. The Celtics gave up 100.4 points per game last season and gave up 107.75 points per game in the preseason. With the team still adjusting to the return of Irving and Hayward, expect the 76ers to score over 103 points on their defense.
Prediction: 76ers – Total Points Over 103
Half-Time Side Pick
The 76ers outscored the Celtics in the first half last season 56.3 points per game to 50.4 points. However, the Celtics played better defense, holding opponents to 49.8 points per game, while the 76ers gave up 52.9 points per game. The Celtics have the edge in this game because they have their full lineup and will be able to score more than they averaged in the first half last season.
Prediction: Boston Celtics -2
Half-Time Total Bet
Since this is the first game of the season, both teams will struggle offensively, especially in the first half as they work off the rust from not playing heavy minutes in the preseason. Both teams should be able to get going offensively in the second quarter, but they likely won’t score enough points to go over 105.
Prediction: Under 105
Half-Time Prop Prediction
The Celtics averaged 50.4 points in the first half last season, and even though they are a better team than they were last year, they are still figuring out how to play together with the return of Irving and Hayward, which means the team is likely going to struggle offensively in the first half and fall short of 54.5 points.
Prediction: Celtics – Total 1st Half Points Under 54.5