Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid (21) passes to Al Horford (42) as Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown (7) and Daniel Theis, back left, defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020.
Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid (21) passes to Al Horford (42) as Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown (7) and Daniel Theis, back left, defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. |Michael Dwyer | Associated Press
NBA

NBA game picks of the day: Celtics vs Jazz, and 76ers vs Cavaliers — how should the Sixers road record affect your bet?

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

1-0 Tuesday, 97-94-2 overall.

76ers (-7.5) @ Cavaliers (216.5)

Pick: Under 216.5

This total has been bet down a couple points and I’m inclined to follow the move. We’ve discussed several times this season about the differences between the Sixers at home and on the road. At this point, you don’t even need to be a regular gambler to be in tune with the difference in splits. Not only is the win-loss record drastically different of Philly on the road than at home, but so is the over-under record. At Wells Fargo Center, overs are 16-12-1, giving the 76ers the third-best over record at home in the East. On the road, Sixers unders are 17-12 which gives Philly the best road under record in the East. What’s the explanation for that? Well the energy doesn’t always appear to be there for the Sixers on the road and they often look sluggish sometimes offensively. When you’re going through the motions, there’s going to be more sloppy possessions, turnovers and ill-advised shot attempts. All of this added up to Philly scoring just 98 points in its first road game after the All-Star break in Milwaukee on Saturday. The Sixers may cover here, solely because the Cavs are horrible, but it should be a low-scoring game regardless of who covers the number.

Celtics (+4.5) @ Jazz (218.5)

Pick: Celtics +4.5

There’s the majority of the NBA on the tail end of a back-to-back, and then there’s the Boston Celtics under Brad Stevens wrapping up a back-to-back. Since the 2013-2014 season, Stevens’ first on the Boston bench, the Celtics are 61-45-2 ATS when wrapping up a back-to-back. That’s a 57.6% cover rate. The Celtics have been an underdog in 62 of those games and are 43-19 ATS for a 69.4% cover rate. There’s plenty of logic to this. Conventional wisdom says to fade teams on the tail end of back-to-backs anticipating fatigue. But, in seven seasons with the Celtics Stevens has demonstrated an ability to properly manage minutes within his rotation. Often factors like the second leg of a back-to-back can be built into point spreads. However, the 43-19 ATS mark for the Celtics as an underdog under Stevens concluding back-to-backs suggests it’s a factor that gets unnecessarily built into the line and the Celtics get more points than they need in these situations. We’ll roll with the Celtics catching over a possession tonight.

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