76ers vs. Celtics: Take 'Over' as NBA Pick

Steven Suarez

Monday, December 15, 2014 3:09 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 3:09 PM UTC

It's not going to be the prettiest basketball when the 76ers and Celtics meet up on the court tonight, but we should be seeing a fast and furious pace. That's why we reckon the OVER holds good value with our NBA picks.

Odds Overview
NBA odds have the Celtics favored by 4.5 points on the road against a Philadelphia team that's only won two games all season. 

If you want to get in on some action on the total, the O/U is at 206.5 points. That's right around what we expected to see, as both teams like to push the tempo on the floor.

Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers seem perfectly content on continuing to lose, in hopes that they pick up another number one pick in the draft. The tanking is working, with the team at just 2-21 overall this season.

We had to wait until December to see Philadelphia pick up a win, but then they went a little crazy, winning two of three! The 76ers beat both Minnesota and Detroit on the road to notch their first two victories of the season. However, since the win over the Pistons, they've dropped three straight games, with the latest coming in overtime against Memphis.

Philadelphia was actually ahead of the Grizzlies throughout, but choked away the lead and then fell in overtime. Michael Carter-Williams posted a triple-double (16/11/11), while Robert Covington and Hollis Thompson both went over 20 points. Four other players also reached double figures, including Tony Wroten, who recently returned from injury.

Looking at the overall statistics, we see the 76ers are 30th in scoring (91.4 PPG) and 25th in points allowed (103.7 PPG). They've been remarkably consistent in how bad they've been.

Boston Celtics
As streaky as any other team in the NBA, the Celtics have followed up a three-game winning streak with a three-game losing streak. They're sitting at 7-14 on the year.

There's no question this team has some interesting pieces. Rajon Rondo is having a great season and is the main reason Boston ranks number one in the NBA in assists per game. The likes of Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger are also having solid campaigns, though there's been a lot of inconsistency with Brad Stevens' squad.

The Celtics last took the court on Friday in a 101-95 loss to the Knicks. Jeff Green went off for 28 points and six boards, with Tyler Zeller adding 19 points and six boards, but Rondo was held to two points despite handing out 10 assists and pulling down seven rebounds. Sullinger really struggled, as he was held without a point while hitting precisely zero of his six shot attempts. 

Boston's been very efficient offensively, having averaged the sixth-most points per game (104.2 PPG) in the NBA, yet their weaknesses defensively (106.5 PPG allowed on average) have proven to be a massive hindrance. Stevens is doing his best to make the best of what he's got, but the Celtics will need some more pieces (via trade or free agency) in order to be truly competitive in the Eastern Conference.

NBA Pick
We don't trust either one of these teams when it comes to making a pick on the spread.

Obviously we're going to stay away from the 76ers, even though they've been playing a lot better recently. And, we don't really like what we've been seeing out of the Celtics either, which means an ATS play is out of the picture.

That's why we'll zero in on the OVER. Boston is tied with Golden State for first in terms of PACE, whereas Philadelphia is right there in third. Now, these two squads aren't all that efficient -- the 76ers are dead last in offensive efficiency and the Celtics are 19th -- but it's not like they've made up for it defensively. We expect a back-and-forth game with little defense, meaning the OVER is our recommended play with our NBA picks.

Free NBA Pick: OVER 206.5

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