Celtics vs. Raptors Odds, Spread, Line: Best Betting Picks & Predictions for this NBA Christmas Matchup

Celtics vs. Raptors Odds, Spread, Line: Best Betting Picks & Predictions for this NBA Christmas Matchup article feature image

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Boston Celtics guard Jayson Tatum (0), Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7).

  • NBA Christmas is here! The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors tip off the days action at noon ET.
  • Find betting odds, picks and predictions for the Christmas Day matchup.

Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions

  • Spread: Celtics -2.5
  • Over/Under: 213.5
  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: ESPN

Odds as of Tuesday afternoon and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.

If you needed any confirmation on the importance of home-court advantage in the NBA, look no further than the Celtics’ short spread over the depleted Raptors on Christmas Day.

Toronto will be without Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Norman Powell, yet the Raps are still just 2.5-point dogs against the Celtics. The question, obviously, is whether that’s enough …

Our analysts offer their takes on the first matchup of the holiday slate:

Betting Trends to Know

Most gamblers prefer wagering on the over and cheering for points. Since Christmas Day games are some of the most bet in the regular season, it is fair to assume that oddsmakers would inflate the total anticipating increased action on the over from the public.

This creates value betting the under.

A $100 bettor following this strategy has returned a profit of $1,449 since 2005. — John Ewing

Matt Moore: Too Many Question Marks

I don’t like any of this.

The Raptors’ injury situation is so rough. Boston seems like a great value there. But Brad Stevens is 10-14 ATS in his career vs. the Raptors who have a lot of institutional stability, and just 5-4-1 as a favorite. The Celtics continue to be awesome defensively without rim protection, and that rim protection isn’t an issue with Marc Gasol not really being a scorer anymore.

This just feels like a trap situation. The Raptors, defending champs, finally have a home game on Christmas. They’re short-handed, so the letdown effect is real, and the Raptors have climbed back into two consecutive games to cover. I know this, because I bet against them.

This is the lowest total on the Christmas slate, but these two teams are both top-11 in offensive rating while both being top-10 in defensive rating. The Celtics are seventh in jump shot field goal percentage off the dribble this season, which should translate better on the road.

Here’s a crazy one: Per Bet Labs, this is just the eigth time in his career Brad Stevens is a road favorite vs. a team with a win percentage over 60%. He’s 5-1 ATS in those games.

LEAN: Celtics -2.5, Over 213.5

Bryan Mears: Line Too Short to Account for Toronto’s Injuries

This was the game I was most surprised about when I saw opening spreads at FanDuel (it opened at Celtics -1). The Raptors are dealing with some key injuries, including to Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell and Marc Gasol, all of whom are out indefinitely.

They were able to skate by in the first two games without those guys, although it required the biggest comeback in franchise history at home against a Luka Doncic-less Dallas team and a narrow win against the Wizards at home. On Monday they lost on the road in Indiana, giving up 120 points.

The Raptors are not without talent certainly, but especially Siakam and Gasol have just been so critical to this team. Take a look at the on/off differential numbers for the main guys in the rotation:

  • Marc Gasol: +13.3 overall | +3.7 offense | +9.6 defense
  • Pascal Siakam: +11.7 overall | +10.3 offense | +1.4 defense
  • OG Anunoby: +3.6 overall | +0.7 offense | +2.9 defense
  • Fred VanVleet: -2.9 overall | -0.6 offense | -2.2 defense
  • Kyle Lowry: -6.1 overall | -2.4 offense | -3.7 defense
  • Norman Powell: -6.0 overall | -4.5 offense | -1.5 defense
  • Serge Ibaka: -16.0 overall | -7.0 offense | -9.0 defense

Gasol and Siakam both rank in the 99th percentile in on/off eFG% differential. The team takes a ton more threes when they play, they’re miles better as a team shooting both at the rim and from behind the arc and they’re way better in the half court.

That last point will be important against a Celtics team that has limited opponents to the third-fewest transition opportunities this season. The Raptors rarely get out without Siakam, so expect a tough half-court game.

On Monday against the Pacers, they were able to get out in transition more, especially off live rebounds, but they were atrocious in the half court, scoring just 0.88 points per play. More concerning is the shot profile of the offense: The Raps got few shots at the rim in the half court, mostly relying on hot mid-range shooting and transition play to stay in the game.

I’m skeptical that will work against a Celtics team that ranks fourth in defense. Boston’s big weakness on that end of the floor has been rebounding, but that hasn’t been a strength of Toronto’s, even with Gasol and Siakam.

Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet are awesome players. OG Anunoby has looked enticing at times this year. This team is well-coached. They could absolutely hang around in this game and even win it if they shoot very well. But should a median outcome be 1-2 points? I don’t think so.

Brandon Anderson: The Top Celtics-Raptors Prop Bet

Gordon Hayward Over 3.5 Assists (-134)

Hayward missed the past three games with a sore foot, but he’s probable for Christmas and expected to play a full load, especially with Marcus Smart still sidelined. Smart is second on the Celtics in assists, and Hayward is third, with both averaging over four per game. Hayward is actually second on the team in assist percentage.

Before missed the past three games, Hayward had 12 assists in three games before that with Smart out. His 4.1 assists per game this season and 22.0% assist rate are the second-highest of his career, and he should spend even more time on the ball with Smart out.

Hayward was finally looking fully healthy to start the season, and he’s averaged 4.8 dimes over his past eight games, going over this line in six of them.

It’s all small sample size theater, but our model agrees — this is the only Christmas Day prop bet our model rates a 10 out of 10. Bet Hayward’s assist over up to -155 and get your Christmas started right.

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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