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Game 5 - 76ers at Celtics
Editor's Note: Brian Edwards is on a 9-1 run with his past 10 guaranteed NBA plays. Brian's guaranteed plays are on a 25-8 run (75.8%, +16.38 units) since March 20, so don't miss out on tonight's pay-if-it wins-only selection!

Facing potential broom treatment going into Monday’s Game 4 at home, Brett Brown decided to shake up his starting lineup. Brown inserted T.J. McConnell and the move proved to be a stroke of genius.

McConnell stole the show in Philadelphia’s 103-92 win over Boston as a 6.5-point home favorite. The third-year guard from Arizona scored 19 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists without committing a turnover. McConnell drained 9-of-12 field-goal attempts and his lone launch from 3-point land.

Dario Saric scored a game-high 25 points, pulled down eight rebounds and had four assists without a turnover. Ben Simmons produced 19 points, 13 boards, five assists and a pair of steals, while Joel Embiid finished with 15 points and 13 boards.

Boston had five players in double figures led by Jayson Tatum, who had 20 points, four rebounds and four assists. Marcus Morris contributed 17 points, five rebounds and two blocks, while Marcus Smart finished with 14 points, five boards, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Al Horford added 10 points, 10 boards, three assists and three rejections.

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The ‘under’ was a winner in both Games 3 and 4 at Wells Fargo Center, with the 195 combined points dropping ‘under’ the 206.5-point total in Game 4.

As of early Tuesday, most betting shops had Philadelphia (57-34 straight up, 52-37-2 against the spread) installed as a 1.5-point road favorite for Wednesday’s Game 5 back in Beantown. However, a lot of spots moved the game to pick ‘em early Tuesday night and by early this morning, the Celtics were favored by one or 1.5 points at most books. The total was 204 points.

The updated series price at Sportsbook.ag has Boston as the -460 ‘chalk.’ The 76ers are +360 underdogs to become the first team in NBA history to rally from a 0-3 deficit to win a postseason series.

Boston (62-31 SU, 58-33-2 ATS) has been incredible as a home underdog this year, compiling a 10-0 spread record with nine outright victories. The Celtics beat the 76ers 117-101 as 4.5-point home underdogs in the series opener and they won a 108-103 decision as 3.5-point ‘dogs in Game 2.

With the overnight line move, however, the C’s are no longer home ‘dogs like they were in Games 1 and 2.

Brad Stevens’s squad has posted a 33-14 SU record and a 28-17-2 ATS mark in its home games. Meanwhile, Philadelphia is 24-21 SU and 22-21-2 ATS in its road assignments.

VegasInsider.com handicapper Kevin Rogers offered this take on tonight's showdown: "The Celtics have yet to lose a home game in the playoffs by compiling a perfect 6-0 record, but Boston’s offense has been the reason for that success at TD Garden. In five of six home wins, the Celtics have topped the 108-point mark, while cashing the OVER five times. Boston owns a perfect 2-0 SU/ATS record under Brad Stevens in close-out games at home in the postseason, while scoring 115 and 112 points in those two victories."

Boston reserve point guard Shane Larkin is ‘questionable’ for Game 5 due to a shoulder injury. Larkin has played in 11 postseason games, averaging 3.7 points, 1.8 assists and 1.0 RPG. He has a 20/6 assist-to-turnover ratio.

This will likely mean more minutes for Terry Rozier, who had his first mediocre game of the series on Monday. Rozier had 11 points on 4-of-11 FGAs in Game 4, handing out merely two assists. In the first three games against the 76ers, the Louisville product was averaging 22.3 PPG. Tatum is averaging 23.3 PPG in the series to date. In 11 postseason games so far, Horford is averaging 17.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.5 blocked shots and 0.8 steals per game. The 10-year veteran is hitting 59.7 percent of his FGAs, 37.5 percent of his treys and 80.9 percent of his FTs.

Philadelphia has watched the ‘over’ go 18-5 this season when listed as a road favorite and that includes the first two games in this series. While that trend is strong, Chris David of VegasInsider.com believes Wednesday’s game will be a grinder and the ‘under’ could be a look plus most shops are holding the 76ers this morning.

He explained his position, “Boston’s defense continues to cause problems for Philadelphia and even though the 76ers scored 103 in Game 4, they only shot 40 percent from the floor. They were able to push the pace to their liking at home but I don’t see that happening on the road. Philadelphia’s shooting woes haven’t improved from 3-point land (29%) and both Simmons and Embiid haven’t played up to their All-Star status. Boston’s weakness is its offense and that showed in Game 4 but the defense has given the 76ers fits in every contest. Philadelphia has a team total hovering between 102 and 103 and I believe the ‘under’ is worth a strong look.”

The ‘over’ is 8-3 in the past 11 head-to-head meetings between these teams.

The ‘over’ is on a 13-5 run for Boston in its past 18 games. The Celtics have seen the ‘over’ go 50-42-1 overall, 28-19 in their home contests.

Totals have been an overall wash for the 76ers (45-45-1), with the ‘over’ hitting at a 25-20 clip in their road assignments.

TNT will provide the telecast from TD Garden at 8:00 p.m. Eastern tonight.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

-- Golden State put a wrap on its series with New Orleans last night and advanced to the Western Conference finals. The Warriors won a 113-104 decision, as the Pelicans took the cash as 12-point underdogs. Alvin Gentry’s club outscored Golden State 29-18 in the final stanza to post the backdoor cover for myself and nine VI customers who purchased my pick pack. New Orleans trailed by 23 points with 8:20 remaining, but it trimmed the deficit down to seven with more than two minutes left. Steph Curry had 28 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the winners. Anthony Davis capped a remarkable season by producing 34 points, 19 rebounds and four blocked shots. Jrue Holiday had a career year and finished it with a triple-double. The UCLA product had 27 points, 11 assists and 10 boards in the Game 5 defeat.

-- Houston closed out Utah in Game 5 last night by winning a 112-102 decision as a 12-point home ‘chalk.’ The 214 combined points elevated ‘over’ the 207.5-point total. The Jazz led by three going into the fourth quarter, only to get outscored 37-24 in the final stanza. Chris Paul was the catalyst with 41 points, seven rebounds, one steal and 10 assists without a turnover. Donovan Mitchell had 24 points, nine assists and four rebounds in the losing effort.

-- Sportsbook.ag has the Warriors as the -150 ‘chalk’ to win the NBA Finals. Houston has the second-shortest odds (+210), followed by the Cavaliers (+650), Celtics (30/1) and 76ers (60/1).

-- The offshore website has Cleveland as the -300 favorite to win the Eastern Conference. The Celtics have +250 odds to make the Finals, while the 76ers have 15/1 odds to come out of the East.

-- For possible Finals matchups, Sportsbook has the Cavs-Warriors as the -110 ‘chalk.’ Next, the Cavs-Rockets provide a +240 return, followed by Celtics-Warriors (+425) and Celtics-Rockets (+800).

-- Minnesota assistant coach Rick Brunson resigned Wednesday afternoon. According to a report from The Athletic, Brunson was facing allegations of improper interactions with multiple women while on the job. Brunson played at Temple during his collegiate days and is the father of Villanova star Jalen Brunson. He was acquitted of criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual abuse and other charges in 2014.

Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.

  
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