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Will Boston Continue Winning Run Over Philadelphia?

December 16, 2018


Which Celtics side will appear on Christmas Day?

The Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers lock horns on Christmas Day in a battle that could define the Eastern Conference.

The two sides met in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals last season where the Celtics eased through to the Conference Finals with a 4-1 victory.

Boston and Philadelphia are both teams on the rise, having gone through tough times in their recent history. The 76ers endured more hardship than their rivals, but are now stocked with talent and will be desperate to prove a point on the road.

The Celtics have been widely inconsistent this term. When they’ve been on form they’ve been outstanding, but when they’ve under performed they’ve been putrid on the court. Brad Stevens’ men cannot afford a poor performance against Philadelphia.

Brett Brown’s side have also had their issues with consistency. They were brilliant in the month of November with a 12-4 record, although their problems have surfaced once again in December.

Both of these sides should be in step with the Toronto Raptors in the battle for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but are making life difficult for themselves to control home-field advantage.

There’s talent aplenty so it should be an enthralling contest as it was in the first meeting between the two outfits when Boston hammered the 76ers on the opening day.

Get the best odds on Christmas day games with our top sportsbooks below:

Boston Celtics

With Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward restored to the line-up after both players were ruled out of the playoffs last season due to injury, the Celtics were expected to dominate the Eastern Conference. LeBron James’ departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers left a void in the conference, which should certainly see a new team represent the east in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2013.

Boston made their intentions clear on the opening day of the campaign with an imperious win over the 76ers, controlling the contest from start to finish. However, since then they’ve been inconsistent to say the least. On their day, the Celtics are capable of defeating any team in the NBA as proven with their triumph over the Toronto Raptors. On the other hand they’ve also proven they can lose to any side – suffering a humbling home defeat to the New York Knicks.

Stevens had trouble in November identifying his best starting lineup, although he has started to crack a solid formula, which has seen Jaylen Brown drop out of the five-man unit. Irving struggled for his best form following his return from injury, but has started to operate at the peak of his powers in recent weeks.

Irving is one of the top three players in the Eastern Conference, with perhaps only Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard topping his ability. Irving has started to pull the strings for the Celtics in his second term. He has eased the pressure on Jayson Tatum, who had an excellent rookie term. Hayward’s starting to feel his way back into touch after suffering a devastating leg injury last term that ruled him out from game one. It might take more time than expected, but the Celtics may start to roll in the second half of the campaign.

Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers made a poor start to the season as they were caught off form against Boston in the opener, but Brown’s men have managed to rally to find their stride. Joel Embiid is delivering on his potential, rounding into one of the best points’ scorers in the NBA.

The 24-year-old is averaging 27 points per game – which at the moment is good enough to place him in the top five. Embiid put himself about in the series against the Celtics and appears to relish the blossoming rivalry between the two teams. Embiid has established himself as the leader of the 76ers, thriving at both ends of the court and displaying great endurance.

When Philadelphia were forced to endure the dark days of record-breaking lows – acquiring players of the ilk of Embiid were the reason supporters trusted the process of picking in the top three of the NBA Draft. He along with Ben Simmons are proving that short-term suffering may be for the greater good given the top-tier quality of both players. Simmons is flourishing in his second full season, settling into his role. The two players along with the talent of JJ Reddick, Dario Saric and Robert Covington may have been enough to launch a charge for the Eastern Conference crown.

The 76ers displayed their ambition by sending Covington and Saric to the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire Jimmy Butler. Butler has hit the ground running since the move and gives Brown a potent trio of players on the court that can match the best in the Eastern Conference. They’re not quite as stocked with talent as the Celtics. However, this time around with Butler in the ranks, the contest will be closer even with Philadelphia’s problems on the road.

Betting Options

In the matchup between the two sides earlier in the campaign, Embiid notched 23 points in a losing effort. He has been better since and with Butler on the court, the Celtics will not be able to focus all of their attention on the center. Take Embiid to top score on Christmas Day at odds of +170 , although Irving also has value at the same price with TopBet.

A stellar performance against the Celtics would enhance Embiid’s credentials to be named MVP of the league. At odds of +850  with MyBookie there is value on the 24-year-old. The two teams will be battling for the Eastern Conference right until the end of the season. Boston have odds of 9/4  with Bet365 to win the conference, which now is a good price considering that they’ve been nowhere near their best yet.

The Celtics have been inconsistent this term, but at TD Garden they’ve been very impressive outside of their loss to the Knicks. Philadelphia have been trending in the wrong direction, while the team chemistry appears to be off due to the mercurial figure of Embiid. Back Boston for the win  at -175  with TopBet on Christmas to kickstart their campaign and push for the Eastern Conference crown, while the over on 223.5 total points to be scored at -107  with BetOnline is also good value.

Tips Summary

Boston Celtics To Beat Philadelphia 76ers
Tuesday 25th December 2018 17:30 ET (22:30 GMT)
Odds: -175

Over 223.5 Total Points To Be Scored
Tuesday 25th December 2018 17:30 ET (22:30 GMT)
Odds: -107

Joel Embiid To Be Top Points’ Scorer NBA Christmas Day
Tuesday 25th December 2018 17:30 ET (22:30 GMT)
Odds: +170

Kyrie Irving To Be Top Points’ Scorer NBA Christmas Day
Tuesday 25th December 2018 17:30 ET (22:30 GMT)
Odds: +170

  • Boston Celtics
  • Joel Embiid
  • Kyrie Irving
  • nba
  • Philadelphia 76ers

    About the author

    Simon Sinclair
    Simon Sinclair

    Sports Writer

    Simon is a freelance sports writer from the UK. He passionately writes about all kinds of sports, sharing his predictions on everything from the latest cricket matches and golf tournaments to major horse racing events and popular American sports.