NBA picks, Celtics-76ers best bets Game 7: Take the Sixers with the points; underhits at TD Garden

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By Webdesk

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Now that we are in the heat of battle NBA playoffs, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will make daily picks during the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and the NBA Final. All rules courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

Recommended game | Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers

We covered this for Kings-Warriors Game 7 and we’ll cover it again now: Game 7s are always ugly. Starting this season, the past 14 Game 7s averaged 193.5 points. Kings-Warriors scored slightly higher with 220, but still fell well short of the expected total of 229. The Celtics made a major lineup change for Game 6 by putting Robert Williams III in the starting five, who was designed to strengthen their defenses at the expense of their offense. Well, it worked, and the two teams combined for just 181 total points. Don’t think too long about this. The under is by far the best bet on the board. The choice: Under 201

I’m going to contradict the history of the NBA a little bit here. About 80% of Game 7’s are won by the home team. But home field advantage didn’t really exist in this series. Four of the six races have been won by the road team. Usually I prefer the team that not just make a big adjustment as it can react without the opponent knowing what to expect. That’s where Philadelphia is now. When road teams win Game 7s, it’s usually because they have the best player. The 76ers have the MVP. This is a legacy game for Joel Embiid. Whatever he has in the tank after his injury, we’ll see. That doesn’t exactly guarantee a victory in Philadelphia, but a blowout doesn’t seem very likely. The choice: 76ers +6.5

Marcus Smart led the Celtics in clutch shot attempts last postseason. He is one shot behind Jayson Tatum for the lead this season. A season ago, he took 22 shots in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. For whatever reason, when things get tight, the Celtics have a bizarre tendency to let Marcus Smart play hero ball. Does it work? Absolutely not. He shot 8-of-22 in that Game 7 victory over Miami and 2-of-14 in the clutch last postseason. But guaranteed volume outside of superstars is so rare in a Game 7 that you take certainty where it presents itself. The choice: smart over 14.5 points

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