The Toronto Raptors are happy they’ll have the comforts of home for one of their toughest matchups of the NBA season thus far.
The Raps, who have been a much better team playing on their home court, welcome the Boston Celtics to town tonight. The Celtics look like one of the best teams in the NBA, and their dynamic duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown has been outstanding.
Despite the difference in records, NBA odds are giving the Raptors a bunch of respect, setting them as just 1-point home underdogs. Can Pascal Siakam & Co. prove them right? And is there a better bet to be made in this Atlantic Division clash?
I dig through the numbers and bring you my best bet in tonight's NBA picks and predictions for Celtics vs. Raptors.
Celtics vs Raptors best odds
Celtics vs Raptors picks and predictions
Boston has the NBA’s best record thanks in large part to an offense that looks virtually unstoppable. Led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the C’s rank first in the NBA in offensive rating. Basically, the Jays get buckets.
That said, the team isn’t without its flaws. The defense hasn’t been elite, ranking a middle-of-the-pack 14th in defensive rating. Boston has also struggled on the boards, ranking 20th in the NBA in rebounding rate and 15th in opponent rebounds per game.
Not having Robert Williams to clean up the glass has certainly hurt the Celtics, and for tonight’s matchup against the Raptors, they will also be without Al Horford. That means All-NBA forward Pascal Siakam should be able to put some work in on the boards.
Siakam looks like he has found the form he had prior to suffering a groin injury in early November. The Raptors forward is coming off a game against the Magic in which he almost recorded a triple-double, going for 26 points, eight rebounds, and 10 assists. Siakam averages 8.9 rebounds per game for the season.
Siakam has also gone Over nine rebounds seven times in his 13 games played this season. With the Celtics’ big men banged up, and playing their second game in as many nights, I like Spicy P to have a big night on the boards.
My best bet: Pascal Siakam Over 8.5 rebounds (-115 at PointsBet)
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Celtics vs Raptors spread analysis
The line for this Atlantic Division matchup has been very interesting. For starters, despite the big difference in records, oddsmakers are giving the now-healthy Raptors plenty of respect with Toronto being a slight 1-point home favorite.
But the line also looks like it's been playing jump rope today. While the Raptors opened this matchup as 1-point home chalk, the line jumped the fence, and then it was the Celtics favored by a point. But then it jumped back and the Raptors are once again 1-point favorites as of Monday afternoon.
The Celtics being underdogs has to do with a few things. One, they are a little banged up. As noted, no Horford tonight, and key reserve Malcolm Brogdon is questionable with an illness. But Marcus Smart is expected to return after not playing in Brooklyn last night.
That’s the other thing. The Celtics are playing the second half of a back-to-back after a hard-fought battle against the Nets. And playing with tired legs could be a problem against a Raptors team that plays at a super high energy level all the time.
That said, this is still the team with the combination of Tatum and Brown, and Boston is getting the reigning Defensive Player of the Year back.
I agree with sportsbooks that this should be a tightly contested game, but the Celtics have the better top-end talent and if the game is close late, the Tatum and Brown combo gives Boston the edge. I would lean toward the visitors on the moneyline.
Celtics vs Raptors Over/Under analysis
The total, on the other hand, hit the board at 227 and has been bet up slightly to 228. But that number is high enough to consider going the other way.
The Celtics offense has been awesome this year, but they aren’t an overly big team and the Raptors match up fairly well with them defensively.
Toronto ranks seventh in the NBA when it comes to defensive rating. The Raptors have done that with a high-intensity, high-IQ style, switching all over the place and disrupting passing lanes. They lead the NBA in steals per game and by a fairly wide margin.
The other reason to like the Under here is the Raps offense. When they are not generating points off turnovers in the transition game, things can get pretty stagnant for Toronto in the halfcourt. It’s so bad at times that the Raptors rank 29th in the NBA in effective field goal percentage.
On top of that, these teams played each other super tight last season. In four games, there was an average of 202 points scored per game. I would lean Under tonight.
Celtics vs Raptors betting trend to know
The Under is 9-2 in the Celtics' last 11 games vs. a team with a winning straight-up record is 8-2 in the Raptors' last 10 in the same situation. Find more NBA betting trends for Celtics vs. Raptors.
Celtics vs Raptors game info
|Location:||Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON|
|Date:||Monday, December 5, 2022|
|Tip-off:||7:30 p.m. ET|