NBA Pick on Philadelphia 76ers ATS vs. Celtics in Boston

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, March 16, 2015 6:50 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 16, 2015 6:50 PM UTC

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Monday.


The team making a late NBA Playoff surge could be an overlay Monday night when the Philadelphia 76ers (15-51, 5-27 away) pay a visit to those Boston Celtics (29-36, 17-16 home) at TD Garden in Boston, MA at 7:35 ET in a game available on Comcast SportsNet - New England .

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Philadelphia as a decided road underdog for this contest with the current line at +8½ with odds of -108.

Celtics within One-Half Game of Playoff Spot
Few people could have envisioned the Celtics being a threat to make the playoffs before the season started, and even fewer people could have predicted it at around the midway point of the season. However, the Celtics are playing good basketball since then, and do not look now but Boston is just one-half game behind the Charlotte Hornets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference following a crucial road win over the Indiana Pacers Saturday.

The 76ers of course have no such playoff aspirations as they would be content with avoiding being the worst NBA picks in the league, as at 15-51, they have a two-game lead over their division mates, the 13-53 New York Knicks, and a one-half game lead over the 14-51 Minnesota Timberwolves from the Western Conference in their quest to avoid that dubious feat.

From Undervalued to Overvalued?
Despite being seven games under .500 straight up, which is apparently good enough to be in playoff position in the watered down East, the Celtics have been undervalued for much of this season and actually own the second best record in the NBA against the spread at 38-26-1 ATS, second only to the Atlanta Hawks (42-23-1 ATS). However, the recent Celtics’ surge and their perceived weak opponents could have them starting a crossover from underrated to overrated.

After all, this marks the second most points the Celtics have been favored by in a game this season, with the most coming when they were -10½ over the New York Knicks on February 25th. Yes, Boston covered that game in a 115-94 win, but that was vs. a team that has quit on this season and is only going through the motions, while these 76ers at least continue to play hard every single night.

And it is not as if the Celtics have been dominant here are home or anything like that either, as they sit at 17-16 straight up at TD Garden with a scant average winning margin of +-0.9 points, no thanks to surrendering 100.6 points per game in Beantown.

Pesky Sixers Still Playing Hard
Now the 76ers may be struggling in the standings, but they are 4-2 ATS in their last six games without losing any of those contests by double-digits, which is basically what would need to happen here for Boston to cover this point spread. And it is not as if the Sixers have been hanging with bottom-of-the barrel teams either these last six games as Philadelphia took the Thunder and Bulls to overtime and beat those top seeds in the East the Hawks outright!

The Sixers have made nice strides on the defensive end as the season has gone on and rookie Nerlens Noel is also making strides offensively. The Kentucky product scored 17 points vs. the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday even though he had a streak of five straight double-digit rebounding games snapped with seven, and he still has five double-doubles in his last nine games while at least reaching double-digits in either scoring or rebounding in all nine of those contests.

Possible Sandwich Game?
Finally, besides coming off of a huge win over the seventh seeded Pacers, the Celtics also have a marquee game coming up vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, which could make this one of those ever treacherous sandwich games. And of course it would not help if Isaiah Thomas misses another game for Boston with his bruised back and elbow.

All in all, this seems like a lot of points for a Boston team that is still unproven as a decided favorite to be giving, so take the points with Philadelphia on the road on Monday.

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NBA Pick: 76ers +8½ (-108)

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