Philadelphia 76ers (0-0) vs. Boston Celtics (0-0)
October 18, 2022 7:30 pm EDT
The Line: Boston Celtics -3; Over/Under: 214.5
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The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics meet Tuesday in NBA action at the TD Garden. The Philadelphia 76ers have won each of their last 3 regular season openers. The Boston Celtics have won 5 of their last 8 regular season openers.
The Philadelphia 76ers won 51 games last year and enter the third season under coach Doc Rivers. The 76ers bring back pretty much the same roster, but added power forward P.J. Tucker for extra defense and intensity. Montrezl Harrell was also a nice bench pickup, as he adds depth at center and is a big body to back up Joel Embiid. The 76ers season truly comes down to which version of James Harden they get. Harden has become more of a facilitator since leaving the Rockets, and he needs to tap more into his scoring bag if Philly is going to become a legit title contender. The 76ers have the pieces to come out of the East, but they need their shooting guard to return to all star form.
The Boston Celtics enter the season as the betting favorite to win the NBA title, but there’s obvious question marks now. Coach Ime Udoka is suspended for the year and Joe Mazzulla will take over as interim coach. At 34 years old and assistant with the Celtics since 2019, the only head coaching experience Mazzulla has is 2 years with Fairmont State. Take away that fiasco, and the Celtics look great on paper. The nucleus that led the Celtics to the finals last year in Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford are back. The Celtics also added a key piece in Malcolm Brogdon, who can play either guard spot. The health of Robert Williams III is the x-factor, as the talented center dealt with knee issues last year and will be out two to three months after a recent operation. Roster wise, the Celtics are as balanced as it gets in the league. The concern is the coaching situation that blew up out of nowhere.
The 76ers are 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 road games and 7-20-1 ATS in their last 28 Tuesday games. The Celtics are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Tuesday games and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The under is 8-3 in 76ers last 11 overall. The under is 4-1 in Celtics last 5 overall. The 76ers are 7-1 ATS in the last 8 meetings.
The Philadelphia 76ers in the underdog role is always going to be attractive given the talent on the roster and the upside this team has overall. However, I need an extra point or two to take this line seriously. The Boston Celtics are the more complete team up to this point and any concerns about their coaching situation were eased during the preseason where guys played hard and looked sharp from the opening game. The Celtics seem to be in a nice groove based on their preseason success, and they should have a point to prove as the opening game on national TV. I’ll lay the bucket.