NBA Playoff Picks for Wednesday, May 3, 2023

By Betmaker Team

Although the Boston Celtics were upset by the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1, they are still -182 favorites to win this series per the NBA futures odds at BetRivers Sportsbook. Boston allowed James Harden to get hot in Game 1, and Harden punished them by going off for 45 points while making 17 of his 30 shots from the floor. That allowed the Sixers to pull off a big upset by the NBA betting line as Philly was a 10-point underdog to Boston on Monday night. However, it’s hard to see the 76ers pulling off another upset without star center and probable league MVP Joel Embiid. He was ruled out of Game 1 due to a knee injury, and it’s very likely that he will sit out of Game 2 now that Philadelphia has picked up a crucial road win. Embiid is probably aiming to return in Game 3 with the series sitting at 1-1.


NBA Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook


Boston Celtics -9.5 vs. Philadelphia 76ers


There are a lot of things that Boston can take out of their loss against Philadelphia in Game 1. The Celtics shot an incredible 58.7% from the floor and outrebounded the 76ers by 10 boards with Embiid out. Jayson Tatum was awesome with 39 points on 14 of 25 shooting, and Jaylen Brown was solid too with 23 points. We saw Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Williams III shine off the bench too in their respective roles.


However, the guard play for Boston was pretty bad. The Celtics had twice as many turnovers as the Sixers, as Marcus Smart was responsible for six turnovers by himself. Derrick White could only manage to score four points in 27 minutes and finished with a plus/minus of -15, and the guards struggled to defend the perimeter too. Philly knocked down 44.7% of its three-point attempts as Harden and De’Anthony Melton both thrived from downtown.


Tatum should have another big game as long as Embiid is out of the lineup in Game 2. His game took a big step forward last season, and he played well enough for the Celtics to win in Game 1. P.J. Tucker is a crafty veteran, but he is no longer a match for the best offensive weapons in the game as he will soon be 38, and it’s clear that he has lost a step. Tobias Harris isn’t much of a defender either, so Tatum will have at least 30 points barring a bad performance.


Bet-Rivers-Banner-Sep-29-2022-03-57-25-53-PM-4Philadelphia changed up its gameplan without Embiid in the lineup, and Harden played a role that was more akin to what we saw with Houston. Harden had an extremely high usage rate and dominated possession, but it worked out for Philadelphia. Tyrese Maxey had 26 points too for Philly in the win, and he was responsible for four steals.


Embiid missed Game 4 of Philadelphia’s first round series against Brooklyn and sat out of Game 1 against Boston to continue to rest his knee. He stayed relatively healthy during the regular season, but injuries have continually slowed him down over the course of his career, so Philly has proven to be cautious with its superstar. If the Sixers lost Game 1, he might have returned for Game 2 in order to avoid being down 2-0, but Philadelphia can give him a little more time after a surprising win on Monday night. That will almost certainly mean an easy win and a cover for Boston in Game 2.


Under 218.5 in BOS-PHI


Both teams should play much better on defense after the shooting display we saw in Game 1. The Celtics will adjust in order to slow down Harden, and we will likely need to see a monster game from either Harris or Maxey for the Sixers to win Game 2. Boston is probably going to take more time on offense too as the guards try to get the ball to Tatum in the block so that he can take advantage of the mismatches in the low post and get Philly’s bigs in foul trouble. All that is good news for the Under, and the total is three points higher after what we saw in Game.