Two Eastern Conference Faves Tangle on NBA Opening Night
NBA Opening Night kicks off with two teams starting the season at full strength for a change. The Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics will both be injury free when they battle at TD Garden tonight.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT
Odds: The Celtics are -5-point favorites. The game’s total opened up to 210.5 after opening at 208.
The Boston Celtics are considered the Eastern Conference favorites. They will open the season at home on Tuesday against another contender. LeBron James’ departure from Cleveland has elevated Boston into the team to beat in the East.
Philadelphia is an emerging force in the East as well. A stellar campaign last season left little doubt they were for real. The opener is a rematch of the Eastern Conference semifinals that Boston won in five games.
Boston reached the East finals without point guard Kyrie Irving and small forward Gordon Hayward. Those injuries cost them the East most likely. The 76ers’ improvement has increased expectations exponentially in Philly, and around the league.
Philly has Huge Expectations
Center Joel Embiid reached superstar status last season. He averaged 22.9 points and 11 rebounds last season. He has made it no secret that he wants to be league MVP this season.
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown tried to temper those expectations. Brown is only interested in Embiid being “Most Valuable Person” on that team. The franchise looks to reach the 50-win mark in consecutive seasons for the first time since the Dr. J era.
The 76ers rolled off seven straight such campaigns (1979-86) when Julius Erving was gracing the uniform. Point guard Ben Simmons looks to build off his Rookie of the Year campaign in which he averaged 15.8 points, 8.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds.
The Sixers went 52-30 last season.
76ers SG JJ Redick made 193 3-pointers last season to narrowly miss making 200 for a fourth straight campaign.
Hayward is Back and ready for Celtics NBA Season Opener
Hayward badly broke his lower left leg in last year’s season opener. He’ll be paced early in the campaign but the hope is he’ll eventually find his former All-Star form from the 2016-17 season with the Utah Jazz.
Hayward and Irving will be complemented by some impressive young players. Jayson Tatum averaged 13.9 points last season. Shooting guard Jaylen Brown averaged 14.5ppg. Veteran big man Al Horford added 12.9 points and 7.4 rebounds.
The Celtics won 14 of the past 16 regular-season meetings.
Boston PG Terry Rozier returns to a backup role with Irving healthy. He averaged 19 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists in the playoff series against Philadelphia.
PREDICTION: Celtics 108, 76ers 105
NBA Opening Night Betting Odds & Trends
|Phil is 16-8 ATS in its last 24 games|
|Philadelphia is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games|
|Phil is 20-5 SU in its last 25 games|
|Philadelphia is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games|
|Phil is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games on the road|
|Philadelphia is 9-3 SU in its last 12 games on the road|
|The total has gone OVER in 6 of Philadelphia’s last 7 games on the road|
|Philadelphia is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Boston|
|Phil is 3-18 SU in its last 21 games when playing Boston|
|Philadelphia is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Boston|
|Phil is 1-10 SU in its last 11 games when playing on the road against Boston|
|The total has gone OVER in 9 of Philadelphia’s last 12 games when playing on the road against Boston|
|Bos is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games|
|Boston is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Boston’s last 7 games|
|Boston is 11-1 ATS in its last 12 games at home|
|Boston is 11-1 SU in its last 12 games at home|
|The total has gone OVER in 15 of Boston’s last 22 games at home|
|The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Boston’s last 5 games at home|
|Boston is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Philadelphia|
|Bos is 18-3 SU in its last 21 games when playing Philadelphia|
|Boston is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against Philadelphia|
|Bos is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games when playing at home against Philadelphia|
|The total has gone OVER in 9 of Boston’s last 12 games when playing at home against Philadelphia|
Philadelphia home to Chicago Thursday, October 18
Boston at Toronto Friday, October 19
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