Celtics vs. Raptors Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Boston Celtics travel to Toronto to face the Raptors after a statement win against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclay’s Center.
This is the second game of a six-game road trip for the Celtics, who will travel to Phoenix after this game.
Meanwhile, the Raptors find themselves in the middle of a three-game homestand with a day off in between each game.
Can Boston overcome Toronto’s situational advantage? Let’s break it down.
The Celtics are coming off a statement win against the Brooklyn Nets — a playoff rematch from last season. I had the Nets +3 as yesterday’s best bet because of the revenge spot for Brooklyn after Boston swept the Nets in the postseason.
Despite the motivational spot, and the Celtics playing without Marcus Smart, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Boston was dominant and won three of four quarters.
Tonight is a different story, however. It isn’t much of a motivational spot for either team and the Celtics will have traveled from Brooklyn. The Raptors also do a few things that could give the Celtics problems.
One of the Celtics’ only weaknesses offensively is on the glass. Playing a five-out attack leads to massive three-point production and leaves the paint nice and clear, but it also leaves Boston vulnerable in the rebounding department. The Celtics have the second-worst Offensive Rebound Percentage at 21.5%. Meanwhile, the Raptors are 11th in Opponent Offensive Rebound Percentage (26%), which means any Boston miss is likely to end up in the hands of a Toronto Raptor.
The Celtics are first in the league in Effective Field Goal Percentage (59.9%), as a result of being second in 3-Point Rate (44.5%). This is particularly problematic for a Raptors team that allows the 24th-most 3-pointers in the league (37.8%).
Since returning from a groin injury on Nov. 28, Raptors forward Pascal Siakam has slightly underperformed compared to his pre-injury numbers.
There’s no cause for concern, but the difference is there as Siakam has diminished per-game averages across every major statistical category. Most notable is his reduction in assists from 7.7 pre-injury to 5.8 since Nov. 4.
The Raptors are 2-2 against the spread in their past four with Siakam, which is nothing to be ashamed of considering their two losses came to the New Orleans Pelicans — albeit an injured Pelicans team — and the Brooklyn Nets. Yet, it’s disappointing considering Toronto started the season 7-2 against the spread.
I expect that record to improve as Siakam settles into his playmaking role — one of the most important measuring sticks for the Raptors success. According to Cleaning the Glass, Siakam is eighth in usage (32.4%) and in the 100th and 96th percentile, respectively, for Assist Percentage (33.2%) and Assist Usage (1.02). In games where Siakam has five or more assists, the Raptors are 9-1 against the spread this season.
The Raptors will also look to use their rebounding advantage to get out in transition against a Celtics team that is excellent defensively on the fastbreak — ranking fifth in Points Per Play at 117.3 — but may not give 100% effort defensively.
There are a few ways I’ll be playing this game. One is the third quarter total over, which is mostly a trends play. Both teams are 20-3 to the over in the third quarter this season, so I’ll be playing the over pre-game and relying on the two teams to do what they’ve done all year — score a ton of points out of halftime.
Another trend I came across when tinkering with BetLabs is related to this road spot for Boston. Fading teams on a back-to-back in Toronto is 97-70-3 ATS (58.1%) with a 13.4% ROI. If you add teams in the same spot, teams that won their previous game, the sample size shrinks, but the record improves to 24-14 (63.2%) with a 24.3% ROI.
Not only is this a letdown spot for the Celtics after an intense win in Brooklyn, but the historical trends don’t favor them either. I’ll be looking to bet the Raptors.
I’ll also look at Siakam’s assists. Since Toronto’s success has been correlated with his playmaking this season, I’ll parlay his assists over 4.5 with Toronto +1.
If you want to play it a little safer, you can just take the plus-one by itself, but from an ROI standpoint, the parlay makes the most sense and is way more fun.
Pick: Raptors Moneyline 1 unit (-102) | half unit on Siakam Over 4.5 assists parlayed with Raptors +1.