Raptors vs Celtics Picks and Predictions: Raps' Offense Could Be in for Long Season

The Raptors returned to Toronto after a season away and promptly put up a dud. Now the underdogs headed to Boston, find out if they can keep it close with our Raptors vs. Celtics picks.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2021 3:33 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
OG Anunoby Toronto Raptors NBA
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The Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics will square off on Friday night with both teams in search of the first win in the new season.

Boston is a 6.5-point home NBA betting favorite, with the total coming in at 218. In recent years, the Cs and Raps have treated fans to one of the league's best rivalries. However, with Toronto undergoing a major transition, will it remain competitive?

Find out with our best free Raptors vs. Celtics picks and predictions for Friday, October 22.

Raptors vs Celtics odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The line for this game opened with the Celtics as 6.5-point favorites with the Over/Under at 219. Early action has come in on the Under moving the total to 218. When these teams previously met up in March, the Raptors were 8.5-point road underdogs and just covered the spread, losing by seven points.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until tip-off and be sure to check out the full NBA odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Raptors vs Celtics predictions

Predictions made on 10/22/2021 at 11:45 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Raptors vs Celtics game info

Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Date: Friday, October 22, 2021
Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Boston, Sportsnet

Raptors vs Celtics betting preview

Injuries

Raptors: Pascal Siakam PF (Out), Yuta Watanabe SG (Out).
Celtics: Marcus Smart PG (Probable), Josh Richardson SG (Probable), Al Horford C (Questionable).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Raptors are 3-8 ATS in the last 11 meetings with the Celtics. Find more NBA betting trends for Raptors vs. Celtics.

Raptors vs Celtics picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

Boston lost its season opener in double-overtime against the Knicks, wasting a 46-point performance from Jaylen Brown. The Celtics enter this season with legitimate questions about whether they are capable of competing against the elite Eastern Conference teams like Milwaukee and Brooklyn.  That said, as long as Brown and Jayson Tatum are healthy and surrounded by a solid supporting cast, this is a playoff-caliber team.

The Raptors opened their season with an ugly 98-83 loss to the Washington Wizards, trailing by as many as 29 points late in the third quarter. 

Toronto is in the middle of a rebuild and said goodbye to Mr. Raptor Kyle Lowry in the offseason. The Raptors have now parted ways with almost everybody from their 2019 championship team, and the only remaining pieces are Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and O.G. Anunoby. 

Siakam is currently sidelined as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery, and if Wednesday's game is any indication, VanVleet and Anunoby aren't capable of carrying an offense. The two combined to shoot just 8 for 37 from the floor against a Wizards team that isn't exactly known for its defense. 

While the Celtics can't expect another absurd outing from Brown, they should get a better game from Jayson Tatum, who went just 7-30 from the field, including 2-15 from beyond the arc, versus New York. Tatum averaged 26.4 points per game last season and put up 28 ppg on 53.2 percent shooting in three games against Toronto. 

There is a large gulf in talent between these teams and the Raptors will have a tough time competing this season, even when Siakam returns to the lineup. These rivals faced off three times last season and the Celtics won each contest by at least seven points. Expect another comfortable victory by the C's and take them on the spread. 

Prediction: Celtics -6.5 (-110)

The Celtics scored 134 points in their season opener but put up a more modest 116 points in regulation and needed 10 points in a desperate final 30 seconds of the fourth quarter to even hit that mark. Boston played at a tame pace for a majority of that game, and while Brown was lights out, the rest of the team shot just 36.8 percent from the floor. Now they'll be facing off against a Raptors team that looks awful with the ball.

VanVleet was an excellent option when he shared backcourt duties with Lowry but he could struggle now that he's being asked to initiate the offense. The Raps might be able to get buckets when they run the floor, but we're going to see plenty of bricks in the half-court, as well as growing pains from rookie Scottie Barnes, who turned the ball over six times against Washington.  

If the Raptors want to eke out wins this season they'll have to be scrappy, slow the pace down, and use their length to defend. Even though they were destroyed by the Wizards on Wednesday, they still limited them to 98 points including just 17 points in a fourth quarter where they continued to fight despite the game being out of reach. Back the Under. 

Prediction: Under 218 (-110)

The Raps made their long-anticipated return to Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday but came out incredibly flat, putting up a pathetic 37 points in the first 24 minutes. This will likely be a very poor offensive team, especially without last season's leading scorer in Siakam. 

The Celtics aren't the defensive powerhouse they used to be but they still have some excellent defenders, including Marcus Smart and Robert Williams. While they are still adapting to new head coach Ime Udoka's defensive system and constant switching, they should have fewer breakdowns as they get more comfortable and communicate better. 

Look for the Raps shooting problems to continue early in this game and take the Under on their first-half team total. 

Pick: Raptors 1st Half Team Total Under 53.5 (-106 at FanDuel)

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