The Boston Celtics take on the reigning champs Toronto Raptors in what’s undoubtedly the headline showdown of the NBA’s Friday schedule at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Florida.
The Celtics look to clinch the series after winning two of their previous three encounters with the Raptors this season, so we bring you all need-to-know betting tips and trends along with our best betting picks for this marquee Atlantic Division matchup.
Boston should come in full strength. Kemba Walker got a day off against the Nets to rest his knee and should be back in the starting lineup. The Raptors, on the other side, are without Patrick McCaw (knee), but he’s not in the rotation anyway.
The Raptors are slight 2-point favorites on BetAmerica with the moneyline odds at -135. The Celtics are +115 underdogs on the same platform, while Sugarhouse set the line on the totals at 219.5 points.
What’s at Stake?
Not much for the Raptors, as they are 4.5 games behind the Bucks and 4.5 games ahead of the Celtics, so the reigning champs are one game away from clinching the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are a couple of games ahead of the fourth-seeded Miami Heat, so they will be under pressure to win this game.
Boston is coming off a comfortable 149-115 victory over the Brooklyn Nets this past Wednesday. The Celtics are 2-2 straight up and 1-2-1 ATS in the bubble. Toronto is 4-0 SU and ATS since the restart, coming off a 109-99 win to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
The Raptors are undefeated in seven straight outings, going 5-1-1 ATS in that stretch. They are 11-8 SU and 12-7 ATS in the last 19 meetings with the Celtics, but the Raptors went only 2-4 SU and ATS in their previous six encounters with Boston. Five of the last seven matchups between these two foes went in the over.
The Celtics beat the Raptors twice this season. They won 112-106 as 2.5-point home favorites in the opener and 118-102 as 4-point road favorites this past Christmas. The Raptors bounced back with a 113-97 victory as 7-point road underdogs on December 28, 2019.
In a 149-115 demolition of the Brooklyn Nets, the Celtics shot 56.8% from the field and 51.3% from downtown. However, they will have a much taller task against the reigning champions. Interestingly, the Raptors’ opponents take the most 3-pointers, but they make only 33.4% of those triples, making the Raptors’ 3-point D the best in the league.
Toronto allows 104.8 points per 100 possessions (2nd in the NBA), scoring 111.3 points in a return (14th). Boston surrenders 107.3 points per 100 possessions (5th), tallying 113.4 points on the other side (4th).
Both teams love to play at a steady pace. Toronto is 13th in the league with 100.6 possessions per 48 minutes, while Boston is 17th with 99.4 possessions per 48 minutes. I expect to see a tight battle and some good defensive work on both sides. Therefore, my top betting pick is the under on the totals, hoping that bookmakers won’t set the line too low.
I would avoid taking the side bet or wagering against the spread. This game could easily go either way, but if you want to try any team to win by six or fewer points, it pays around +135. If I have to choose, I would go with the Celtics to upset the odds and win straight up.