Sixers vs. Celtics Betting Odds, Picks, Prediction (December 1, 2021)

Sixers vs. Celtics Betting
Photo credit: Craig Dudek

On Wednesday night, the Philadelphia 76ers will be in Boston to take on the Celtics. The Sixers shot out to a big lead on Monday night before falling apart midway through the game only to salvage a late victory over the injury-depleted and already pretty bad Orlando Magic. The Sixers and the Celtics, who beat the Toronto Raptors in Canada on Sunday, are both a decidedly meh 11-10.

Let’s get into our Sixers vs. Celtics betting pick with player prop predictions, odds, and analysis for this December 1, 2021 matchup.


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Sixers vs. Celtics Betting Pick (December 1, 2021)

It will be a long time before we can watch a Sixers-Celtics game and not think about the time the Sixers traded up with the Boston Celtics to take Markelle Fultz first overall. Two picks later, the Celtics took Jayson Tatum in the spot the Sixers had previously occupied in the draft order. Even though this happened almost five years ago, the mere mention of it still summons bile for Sixers fans. 

You know what, though? Maybe it wasn’t as bad as you think it was. Here’s a good summation of this deal:

Danny Ainge traded the No. 1 pick in 2017 to the 76ers for the No. 3 pick and a future first-rounder. The Sixers took Washington guard Markelle Fultz at No. 1, and…(t)he Celtics took Jayson Tatum at No. 3…Boston completed the trade by taking Indiana wing Romeo Langford with the No. 14 pick (in the 2019 NBA Draft). This pick was the future first-rounder given to Boston in the Tatum/Fultz deal.

The news is never going to be good, because the Celtics have Tatum and the Sixers had to jettison Fultz for almost nothing of value. But numerous dominoes have fallen in the past few years that softened the blow of this whole situation.

The first is the unfortunate knee injury that Fultz suffered in January. Obviously, you cannot step in the same river twice, so we will never know if Fultz would have sustained this injury had he stayed in Philadelphia. But the bottom line is that Fultz is now a fifth-year player at age 23 coming off an anterior cruciate ligament tear who also has a history with thoracic outlet syndrome. Injuries are just part of the game, and the Sixers (you’d hope) could not have known that Fultz would be so limited by injury for the first five years of his career.

The second is that Romeo Langford has done remarkably little with the Celtics. It would have been an absolute nightmare scenario if the Celtics had landed another franchise cornerstone with the first round pick the Sixers included in the Fultz deal. But the Sixers caught a pretty big break there because the pick, which came from the Sacramento Kings in a 2015 trade involving Nik Stauskas(!), landed at number 14 in the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery. Why did the Sixers get so lucky here? Because the Miami Heat took Tyler Herro number 13 in that draft. Herro on this Celtics team would be an absolute menace.

A footnote to this whole mess is that the Sixers actually “won” a trade with the Celtics in 2019 when the Sixers traded up to the 20th pick in that NBA Draft to take Matisse Thybulle. The Celtics accepted the 34th pick in the same draft as compensation for moving down four slots and took…Ty Jerome and then Carsen Edwards. Any sane basketball observer would give the Sixers the edge there. Not a Tatum to Fultz edge, mind you, but an edge nonetheless. 

And besides…these teams are both 11-10 coming into this game. There’s a reason for that – Tatum, while an undeniable star, isn’t in the category of a Giannis Antetokounmpo or a Steph Curry or an in-his-prime LeBron James. It’s not just having the #1 pick, it’s having the #1 pick when a transformational star is there to be selected. Tatum is a great player, but he won’t be transformational. That’s our story, anyway. 

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Sixers vs. Celtics Odds

Here’s the line for the Sixers and Celtics at FanDuel Sportsbook:

  • Point Spread: Sixers +2.5 (-108), Celtics -2.5 (-112)
  • Moneyline: Sixers +124, Celtics -146
  • Total: 206.5

Bets We Like With a Sixers Win

Sixers to Win and Under 206.5 Total Points (+298, FanDuel Sportsbook)

FanDuel Sportsbook

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If the Sixers win this game tonight, it will be because Tatum and Jaylen Brown got theirs, but the rest of the moribund Celtics roster (Dennis Schroder, Marcus Smart, Al Horford) didn’t hurt them. We have concerns about the Sixers’ ability to do that. We also have concerns about the now unavoidable fact that the Sixers’ second unit stinks worse than the Thanksgiving leftovers sitting in the back of your refrigerator. We would like to throw both of them out, but one of them we are unfortunately stuck with.

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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome

Al Horford Over 11.5 Points (-120, Caesars Sportsbook)

As terrible as the Fultz-Tatum trade was for the Sixers, at least it looked like they were getting something of value when they made the deal. You can’t say the same thing for the four-year free agent contract the Sixers signed Horford to in 2019. They guaranteed $97 million to a 32-year-old undersized center whose only discernible skill was limiting Joel Embiid whenever Horford faced him. That’s not a strategy! You can’t just sign every player who defends your players well! Anyway, Horford sucked rocks as a Sixer, so of course he’ll be looking for some payback and undoubtedly his Celtics teammates will try to help him get just that.

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Joel Embiid Under 23.5 Points (-110, DraftKings Sportsbook)

DraftKings Sportsbook

States: NY, AZ, PA, NJ, IN, IL, IA, CO, MI, TN, VA, WV


To be clear, this prop selection is not directly tied to what we think Horford will do to Embiid defensively in this game. It’s part of it, but in no way is it all of it. The main thing at work here is that Embiid, after playing 45 minutes on Saturday night in his first game back from a nine-game absence, looked winded and at times very happy to settle for jump shots against Orlando on Monday. We cannot project that Embiid is suddenly going to locate his lift or his will to go hard to the basket two nights later, on the road, against better opposition than the Magic.

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Marcus Smart Over 5.5 Assists (+120, Barstool Sportsbook)

Barstool Sportsbook



This recommendation comes with a huge red flag, because the line here makes absolutely no sense. Smart has averaged 5.7 assists in 68 games this season and last. He has 46 assists in his last six games and went over 5.5 assists five times in that span. And it’s not like the Sixers are running elite defensive guards at him — Tyrese Maxey and Seth Curry aren’t exactly elite defenders. Smart should get six or more assists with relative ease, which means that with this line at +120, um, yeah, be careful.

Sixers vs. Celtics Prediction

There was understandable enthusiasm around the Sixers just five days ago when we learned that Embiid was probable to rejoin the team, and it sure was exciting to watch him drop 42 on the Minnesota Timberwolves in his first game back. All that energy went away on Monday night, though. The Sixers won, but even head coach Doc Rivers seemed resigned to the relatively low quality of the team’s performance, even in a win. The sorry truth is that the Sixers are still shorthanded even though everyone is healthy — there is a hole in this roster, caused by Ben Simmons sitting — that makes the Sixers a bad bet against another likely playoff team on the road.

Pick: Celtics -3 (-113, Barstool Sportsbook)

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