Joel Embiid complete their two game set against the Celtics on Friday (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)
- The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers matchup for a second time in three days on January 22nd
- Philly won on Wednesday on the back of a massive performance from Joel Embiid
- Which player props represent the best value for Friday’s game?
The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics meet again on Friday. The Sixers won a heated game on Wednesday – Marcus Smart and Joel Embiid were both outspoken in their post-game media availability after Embiid took more free throws than the entire Celtics team.
With Jayson Tatum still unavailable for Brad Stevens, the Sixers are 4.5-point favorites for Friday’s game. Sixers guard Seth Curry has been upgraded to probable for the game, so the Sixers could be at full strength for the first time in several games.
Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers Player Props
|Player||Points||Rebounds||Assists||Three Pointers Made|
|Jaylen Brown (BOS)||24.5 (O -114 | U -108)||5.5 (O -134 | U +110)||3.5 (O +132 | U -162)||2.5 (O -104 | U -122)|
|Kemba Walker (BOS)||17.5 (O -112 | U -108)||3.5 (O +102 | U -124)||4.5 (O +124 | U -152)||2.5 (O -118 | U -108)|
|Marcus Smart (BOS)||14.5 (O -102 | U -118)||3.5 (O -138 | U +112)||4.5 (O -140 | U +114)||2.5 (O +132 | U -170)|
|Joel Embiid (PHI)||26.5 (O -116 | U -106)||12.5 (O -106 | U -114)||2.5 (O -115 | U -105)||1.5 (O +176 | U -235)|
|Tobias Harris (PHI)||17.5 (O -110 | U -110)||6.5 (O -134 | U +110)||2.5 (O -114 | U -106)||1.5 (O -115 | U -111)|
|Ben Simmons (PHI)||12.5 (O -122 | U +100)||8.5 (O -104 | U -118)||7.5 (O -114 | U -106)||N/A|
Odds taken on January 22nd from FanDuel
No Answer for Embiid
Joel Embiid is a master at drawing contact. Marcus Smart might have called it ‘flailing’ (something Smart is very familiar with), but the majority of those free throw attempts on Wednesday were a result of legitimate fouls. Grant Williams, Tristan Thompson and Daniel Theis finished with five personal fouls apiece.
Boston had no answer for Embiid inside, whether resorting to retro bully ball or pump-faking his way to a mid-range shot. The Sixers shot over 70% on long twos as a team.
Embiid’s fortunes have been mixed against the Celtics. He didn’t have sufficient space or help in the playoff sweep, and two of his regular season performances were disappointing in 2019-20. In amongst that, though, Embiid had another massive night, scoring 38 with 14 free throw attempts in a narrow Philly win in December 2019.
Joel Embiid is on pace to winning this year’s MVP…he’s playing the best basketball of his career! Carry on…
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) January 21, 2021
Guarding the Cameroonian has always been a difficult question for Brad Stevens’ Celtics since they lost Aron Baynes and Al Horford. It’s an even more complicated conundrum with the shooting the Sixers have put around Embiid – Seth Curry’s return only makes life harder for Boston’s defense.
Joel Embiid tonight:
There’s only one other instance where a Sixer had a 40/10 game on 1 (or fewer) turnover since the three-point era — Joel Embiid in 2019. pic.twitter.com/0TqDgVLHhP
— StatMuse (@statmuse) January 21, 2021
Embiid has two 40-point games in his last three outings. The nine-point display against a weakened Miami is a warning sign for potential Embiid over bettors, but for a player who averages 26.4 per game, against a Celtics team he flattened a couple of nights ago, Embiid to go over 26.5 is a good bet. His points, rebound and assists total of 42.5 is worth considering, too.
- Pick: Joel Embiid over 26.5 points (-116)
Harris Hits Threes
After such a dominant performance a couple of nights ago, the Celtics could be very aggressive in their defense of Joel Embiid. Doubling Embiid in the post will leave shooters open. Tobias Harris is one of the Sixers most likely to benefit as Boston looks to make Embiid give the ball up.
Harris has gone three-for-11 from downtown since returning from a three-game COVID-19-related absence. He made just one of his five attempts when these teams met on Wednesday, and the Celtics are one of the best teams in the league at preventing and defending the three. While the over on 1.5 threes for Harris might not sound like a good bet, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest it’s a solid value option.
The former Clipper is averaging two three-point makes per game. He’s over 41% on the season. In eight of his 12 outings this season, Harris has made two or more threes.
He’s averaging 4.8 attempts from deep per game. The only game Harris took fewer than four threes was the loss to Memphis, which Embiid sat out. Harris is going to get plenty of shots off from beyond the arc, and Boston’s inability to go man-to-man with Embiid inside could mean he gets a lot of good looks.
Again working with Doc Rivers, Harris has found his role in the Sixers offense after a difficult 2019-20 season. The departures of Horford and Josh Richardson has benefited Harris almost as much as it has Embiid – he might not be flashy, but he accumulates his points and hits his threes at a good rate (Harris ranks 73rd percentile on non-corner threes among forwards).
It’s a bit of a surprise to see the line at 1.5 for Harris threes. It’s an obvious over bet.
- Pick: Tobias Harris over 1.5 threes (-115)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.