The Philadelphia 76ers rolled into their opening round series against a finally healthy Chicago team and left behind them a wasteland of destruction. Derrick Rose blew up his knee and may never be the same and Joakim Noah sprained an ankle that caused him to miss 3-1/2 games. Even though Philly didn’t play overtly rough basketball and the injuries were more of coincidence, how are the old bones of the Celtics going to withstand this heated 2nd round playoff test?
Besides betting on individual games, halftime lines, quarter spreads and prop bets, placing action on an entire playoff series is a good way to stretch out your dollar and give you an excuse to hit the sports bar 4,5,6, or 7 nights in the next two weeks. Here is the betting breakdown for the Celtics/Sixers Series:
Series Prices: 76ers +185, Celtics -225
It’s hard to gauge how good Philadelphia actually is due to the absence of Rose and Noah but it is certain that this Sixers team has one thing going for them – momentum. They’re young, healthy, and have exorcised the demon of not winning a playoff series since ’03. Boston on the other hand is beat up with Ray Allen experiencing ankle pain and Paul Pierce, while performing well, doing so on an aching knee. Whereas the Heat are -900 favorites, Vegas is respecting this series by only listing Boston at -225. The Game 1 line reflects a “certain uncertainty” as Boston is on the board at -5.5.
The two teams met 3 times this year with Philadelphia taking 2 out of 3, including a 32-point victory at home. This could work to the 76ers advantage, knowing they can play with Boston, or on the Celtics side as they realize Philly is no pushover. In the end, it will probably come down to whether Boston stays healthy, because even though in the playoffs a player finds a reserve tank of adrenaline, sometimes you can’t lie to your body.
The Oddsmakers’ Take
In looking at the exact games odds, Vegas has Boston in 5 as the most likely scenario coming in at 3:1. Personally, I think Philly can at least manage two victories…if not the entire series. Besides Allen and Pierce, Garnett and Rondo would both have to go down for me to take Philly in 4 at 25:1 but I could see the 76ers closing out the series in Game 6 at home with 6:1 odds.
As tempting as it would be to take Philadelphia for the Series win at +185 and bank on Pierce and Allen missing multiple games, the fact of the matter is that the NBA needs the Celtics to win this series. With the Heat all but guaranteed to knock out the Pacers, the highest ratings for the Eastern Finals with Chicago out would come from Boston/Miami. I’m not saying ratings, TV money, or Vegas determines any outcome…but it does.
Take The Celtics to win the Series at -225…David Stern probably is.