On Friday night, the Sixers will again welcome the Boston Celtics to the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers’ seven-game winning streak ended with a thud on Wednesday night with a double-digit loss to the Charlotte Hornets in a game the Sixers were never really in. The Sixers remain in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Things are less rosy for the Celtics, who won three games in a row just to get back to .500. That said, the Celtics have had more than their share of COVID absences and other issues, and they’re almost fully healthy entering this game. The Celtics are almost certainly better than their record would indicate, no matter what Bill Parcells might think of that statement.

Let’s get into our Sixers vs. Celtics betting pick with player prop predictions, odds, and analysis for this January 14, 2022 matchup.


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Sixers vs. Celtics Betting Pick (January 14, 2022)

In 2006, Will Blythe released “To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever,” his twisted and lengthy love letter to the rivalry between his cherished North Carolina Tar Heels and the beneath-contempt Duke Blue Devils. In the first chapter — the third paragraph of the book, mind you — here’s how Blythe summarizes how things are going for him:

There is no end to my gloom. My father is in his grave, my marriage is kaput, my girlfriend is said to be in Miami (though what she is doing there I can’t say, since we’re not speaking), I have no income, and yet the thing that is driving me over the edge is a basketball game that I can’t even see. North Carolina, my beloved North Carolina, is being brutalized by Duke, being outplayed by opponents who are too kind, too mannerly to even gloat. At least when your rival gloats, you know victory over you means something.

Recalling this book, which I read in hardback when it came out, and seeing the Sixers’ matchup tonight, I realized something kind of sad: I miss hating the Boston Celtics, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never hate them again the way I hated them when I was young.

You likely know all the history, and if you don’t it’s out there for you to learn, but the quick summary is that the Sixers probably would have won multiple championships in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s rather than the lone title they won in 1983 if the Boston Celtics didn’t exist. Larry Bird and Dr. J fought each other, “Beat L.A.”, again, if you don’t know about all of it, educate yourself. And it was all glorious, even in 1981 when the Sixers blew Game 6 in the Eastern Conference Finals and had to play a Game 7 at Boston Garden that you knew they were going to lose (which they did).

Time is undefeated, though, and this rivalry between the Sixers and the Celtics has essentially none of that enmity left. The teams have only faced each other in the playoffs three times since 2003, with the Celtics winning all three of those series. A hammer doesn’t have a rivalry with a nail.

Even the Celtics’ fleecing of the Sixers in the Markelle Fultz trade debacle didn’t inject much heat back into the teams’ cooled rivalry because Jayson Tatum is in his fourth season and the Celtics just haven’t done that much with him. No question that Tatum is an All-Star, but he’s taking 21 shots a game and shooting 42% from the field (and 33% from three-point range). The Sixers didn’t pass up LeBron James to pick Fultz, thankfully.

Anyway, the Sixers and Celtics are playing again tonight, and while in the past this was appointment viewing with some inherent resentment baked in, tonight, it’s game number 41 for the Sixers and game number 43 for the Celtics in another seemingly endless NBA regular season. Tough to work up much hate over it, and it’s too bad.

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Sixers vs. Celtics Odds

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

  • Point Spread: Sixers -3.5 (-106), Celtics +3.5 (-114)
  • Moneyline: Sixers -166, Celtics +138
  • Total: 210

Bets We Like With a Sixers Win

Sixers to Win and Over 210 Total Points (+213, FanDuel Sportsbook)

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We’re not mad at the Sixers, we’re just disappointed. The egg they laid on Wednesday night was the first game since December 23 (in a related story, another loss) that they failed to score 100 points. If the Sixers are to win this game — spoiler, we’re not in love with that as a given — they’re going to have to get back to putting up points in bunches. The Sixers are 22nd in the league in points per game, which is remarkably weak considering how many guys they have whose primary skill is scoring.

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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome

Jayson Tatum Over 24.5 Points (-115, Caesars Sportsbook)

Just because we don’t love Tatum’s game all things considered doesn’t mean he’s not going to score 25 points tonight. Tatum is averaging 28 points per game over his last four and has scored at least 24 points in three of those games.

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Al Horford Under 8.5 Points (-110, DraftKings Sportsbook)

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Horford hit the over on this prop in December with a lusty 10-point performance. Lately, though, Horford has reverted to the exceedingly limited, fork-sticking-out-of-his-back hanger on we know him to be. He hasn’t scored in double figures in his last eight contests (not in this calendar year either). To be fair to Horford, with Tatum and Jaylen Brown cranking up 40 shots per game between them, what chance does old Al have, anyway?

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Tobias Harris Over 6.5 Rebounds (-133, FOX Bet)

Harris’ rebounding is probably the only part of his game that a. can’t really be criticized, and b. he doesn’t really get enough credit for. He’s averaging 7.5 rebounds per game this season, and he has pulled down at least six rebounds in nine of his last ten starts.

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Sixers vs. Celtics Prediction

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Play time is over for the Sixers, and they probably know it. They won seven games in a row before losing Wednesday night and while you can only play the teams who are on the schedule, I mean, two of the wins came against the Houston Rockets. As with Wednesday night, we’re recommending taking the points in a game the Sixers might struggle to win at all.

Pick: Celtics +3.5 (-109, Barstool Sportsbook)

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