If The 76ers Don’t Cover Game 5 Vs. Celtics, Philly Is Dead To Me

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The 3-seed Philadelphia 76ers evened the 2023 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals with the 2-seed Boston Celtics with a thrilling 116-115 Game 4 victory Sunday. Game 5 at the TD Garden in Boston has a 7:30 p.m. ET tip.

Celtics All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were held to a modest 47 points on a combined 19-for-36 shooting. Brown went missing down the stretch and Tatum passed up the would-be game-winning shot in Game 4.

Game 4 was another “James Harden Game“. Harden erupted from a game-high 42 points on 69.6% shooting (6-for-9 from 3). 76ers big Joel Embiid scored a personal series-high 34 points Sunday and grabbed 13 boards.

76ers PG James Harden shoots the game-winning 3-pointer over Celtics SF Jaylen Brown during overtime in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
76ers PG James Harden shoots the game-winning 3-pointer over Celtics SF Jaylen Brown during overtime in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Even though the series is split 2-2 and the 76ers-Celtics are tied in the “four factors,” Boston is out-scoring Philadelphia 116.3-106.0 points per game (PPG).

But, every NBA handicapper on the internet is giving out the Celtics laying the points in Game 5. The spread hasn’t mattered in the 1st four games of this series but something tells me that’ll change Tuesday.

To be honest, this 76ers-Celtics series is murdering my betting soul. I’ve bricked all the games so it would make sense if you wanted to fade me. Everything is telling me to stay away from Game 5.

76ers at Celtics Game 5 odds (DraftKings Sportsbook)

Betting odds for the Philadelphia 76ers vs. the Boston Celtics Game 5 from DraftKings as of 1:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, May 9th.
Betting odds for the Philadelphia 76ers vs. the Boston Celtics Game 5 from DraftKings as of 1:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, May 9th.

This is where Boston puts Philadelphia’s season on the brink. Or at least that’s what the NBA talking heads think. Home favorites of -6 or greater in Game 5 are 11-5 overall since 2020 but just 7-9 against the spread (ATS).

The home favorites are 0-4 ATS in all four of these spots in this postseason with a -11.0 ATS margin. This includes the Celtics losing a possible series-clinching Game 5 at home in the 1st-round 119-117 vs. the Hawks.

I’ve gotten egg on my face several times this season with the Celtics but I just don’t agree with the market about their power rating. Boston’s coaching is suspect and Marcus Smart has too big of a role in the offense.

Philadelphia 76ers C Joel Embiid and Boston Celtics PG Marcus Smart have a stare-down following a Smart foul in the 1st quarter of Game 4 of the 2023 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Sixers C Joel Embiid and Boston Celtics PG Marcus Smart have a stare-down following a Smart foul in the 1st quarter of Game 4 of the 2023 Eastern Conference Semifinals. (Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

If Embiid can give Philly the same effort Tuesday as he did in Game 4 then his teammates should have wide-open looks. The 76ers are making an NBA-best 46.9% wide-open 3-point attempts in these playoffs.

This series is tied despite 76ers SG Tyrese Maxey struggling and Embiid missing the series opener with a knee injury that he’s still playing through. As simple as this sounds, Maxey and Sixers’ Tobias Harris are due.

Harden, Embiid, and Maxey’s point props for Game 5 are all juiced to the Over. So the betting market expects them to have solid outings. All the 76ers need are Harden and Embiid to get their numbers and one role player to step up.

BET: 76ers +7.5 (-110), down to +7 at DraftKings

  • Betting strategy: I’m splitting a 1 unit-ish on Philadelphia’s spread and the player prop below. For example, I’m using $100 as 1 unit with three-fourths of that going to the 76ers plus the points.
The 76ers’ Game 5 odds at the Boston Celtics from DraftKings.

PS Player Prop: Boston Celtics C Al Horford points (8.5)

  • OVER 8.5 points: (-125)
  • Under 8.5 points: (-105)

Horford made me money in Game 3 by flying Over for his 7.5-point prop and scoring 17 points on 75.0% shooting (5-for-7 from 3). I’m going back to the well with Horford because his defense and floor-spacing make him vital to the Celtics.

In this series, Horford is averaging 10.8 PPG and his +18 net rating is the best on Boston’s starting 5. Embiid did his thing in Game 4 but Horford blocked him 4 times.

Boston Celtics C Al Horford shoots a three during Game 4 of the 2023 Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center.
Boston Celtics C Al Horford shoots a three during Game 4 of the 2023 Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Horford is averaging 13.6 PPG on 51.2% shooting in his eight career head-to-head playoff games vs. Embiid and the 76ers. Horford has scored at least 10 points in seven of those eight meetings.

This season, Horford’s true shooting rate goes from 57.6% on the road to 67.3% at home. Also, his offensive rating increases from 123 to 136 in Boston and Horford averages 2.1 more points at home (10.7-8.6 PPG).

BET: Celtics big Al Horford OVER 8.5 points (-125)

  • Pro tip: Always shop around for the best numbers on player props. As much as I love our partner DraftKings Sportsbook, maybe you can find a better number in the market.

Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.


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Written by Geoff Clark

Geoff Clark serves as OutKick’s sports betting guru. As a writer and host of OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark, he dives deep into the sports betting landscape and welcomes an array of sports betting personalities on his show to handicap America’s biggest sporting events.

Previously, Clark was a writer/podcaster for USA TODAY's Sportsbook Wire website, handicapping all the major sports tentpoles with a major focus on the NFL, NBA and MLB.

Clark graduated from St. John University.

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