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The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers will conclude the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday at TD Garden. Game 7 matchups are special because the entire series comes down to one game. It’s win or go home and Boston, and we expect both teams to come out on fire. The Celtics salvaged their season in Game 6, winning 95-86. Jayson Tatum was phenomenal down the stretch, but the Celtics haven’t been consistent in this series. The same goes for the 76ers, making betting on either squad relatively difficult. However, we have you covered at WSN, so let’s get into the best ways to make money on the action.
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The Celtics were able to win Game 6, and force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Boston has been very impressive over the past few seasons in Game 7 matchups. They took down the Bucks in seven games in the 2022 Eastern Conference semifinals and then bested the Heat in Game 7 in the conference finals a year ago. When Boston plays their best basketball, they’re at least ten points better than the 76ers. Although, we haven’t seen the best version of the Celtics in the postseason. A championship Celtics team begins and ends with Jayson Tatum. Tatum was amazing in the fourth quarter of Game 6, after barely scoring a basket in the first three quarters.
At one point, Tatum was 1 of 12 from the field, but he kept firing and that’s the sign of a true competitor. Tatum’s performance in the first 36 minutes was pitiful, but Philadelphia couldn’t take advantage of any of the flaws in Tatum’s game. The 76ers were horrendous from the field and faced multiple double-digit deficits when Tatum couldn’t score. They had prime opportunities to put Boston away when they gained momentum and only scored 86 points in a closeout opportunity.
Joel Embiid was the team’s entire offense, with 26 points on a 9 of 19 night from the field. He also recorded ten rebounds to solidify the double-double. Embiid is going to be just fine in Game 7, but the questions lie with the rest of the players, like James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris. The 76ers have won games in the series because of big performances out of these stars, and if they don’t get production on Sunday, Boston will cruise to the Eastern Conference Finals.
We learned that Tatum is “humbly…one of the best players in the world,” in Game 6. That was the notable phrase from the forward in the postgame presser. Tatum wasn’t good until the closing minutes, but he knocked down four threes in the fourth quarter. He was laying bricks the entire night but had enough confidence not to stop firing, and it paid off.
The 76ers can beat the Celtics if Boston allows them to gain momentum. Every time the Celtics have lost in this series, they haven’t shown up in any capacity. Like Tatum and Jaylen Brown, their stars haven’t been the aggressors. The bench has also been lackluster in the series.
The Celtics are favored to win the NBA Finals, despite facing a Game 7. They’re the better team and at home, so there is no excuse for the stars not to shine at TD Garden. Boston’s tendencies will likely allow the 76ers to keep the game close, but we trust the home team to be great down the stretch.
The 76ers must set the tone early in Game 6 to have a chance. The tone begins and ends with Harden on the perimeter. The guard had nine assists in Game 6, which was a valuable contribution. Although, he isn’t there to solely pass the ball, and that’s what it has been in the Sixers' three losses in the series.
Harden shot 25% from the field in Game 6 and didn’t make a single three-pointer. Philadelphia is a dangerous team when he makes his shots because they have multiple scoring threats. The Celtics can focus on Embiid in the paint when Harden doesn't score. The Sixers have the advantage down low, but this isn’t enough for them to win the series.
Philadelphia must receive contributions from the perimeter, and Harden is a noteworthy player. We expect Harden to be better than Game 6, but the bar is very low after that performance. He is known for being a playoff disappointment, and this characteristic has been on full display in the postseason.
The Celtics have been closer to an eight points favorite at home throughout the series. Since this is a closeout game for both sides, the spread has dipped to 6.5. The best betting move is to live bet the spread because these teams have been known for ten points swings. If the game plays into your favor, you could probably bet the 76ers live for +10 or greater. If Philadelphia goes on an early run, the Celtics could drift closer to even money.
The best pregame bet is to lay the points with the Celtics at -6.5. There is value in this line, as Boston is the better team. They don't deserve to advance if they can’t show up in a Game 7. Lay the points and expect a big night from Tatum.
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Tanner Kern has been working in the betting industry since 2020. He currently is a social media content creator at DraftKings and contributes to multiple sites in addition to WSN, including Forbes and VSiN. He is also the cohost of the podcast Ride the Line at WSN.More info on Tanner Kern
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