NBA Betting Picks (Friday, Sept. 11): Our Staff’s Favorite Game 7 Bets for Celtics vs. Raptors
Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics.
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There are two games on the NBA slate today, but one has obviously caught more of the attention from our experts. The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors will face off in Game 7 for the right to play in the Eastern Conference finals.
Our staff breaks down their favorite NBA bets for today’s slate and where to find the most value in tonight’s matchup.
Friday NBA Betting Picks
Matt Moore: Celtics vs. Raptors
|Celtics odds||-3 [BET NOW]|
|Raptors odds||+3 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-143/+123 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||204.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
Both Game 7’s in the bubble have gone under. Historically, unders are reliable in Game 7’s. I’m going to Keep It Simple In Seven (KISIS?) and go with the under.
Both the Raptors and Celtics have figured out the opposing offense, it just comes down to tough shooting. The Celtics’ offense was creating great looks in Game 6, the Raptors’ offensive process was terrible for most of the game … and the Raptors still won.
You get used to make the rotations over seven games. You get used to the shooting tendencies. And in a Game 7, every possession is tight. If this goes over, I can feel good about losing the money because the under is absolutely the right pick.
The Pick: Under 204.5
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Raheem Palmer: Celtics vs. Raptors
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
In the past 25 years, Game 7 unders are 39-25-1 (60.9%) Considering your break even rate on -110 bets is 52.38%, you would have carved out an 8.52% edge if you blindly played these unders. I’d never encourage anyone to do that, so I’ll dig a bit deeper.
The pace (number of possessions) has slowed down in each subsequent game:
- Game 1: 104.6
- Game 2: 99.5
- Game 3: 98.8
- Game 4: 94.5
- Game 5: 92.8
- Game 6: 90.2
Beyond the slow pace, the Raptors’ half court offense has plagued them this entire series. Throughout most of this series, they weren’t even scoring a point per possession on offense and they went the final four minutes of regulation in Game 6 without scoring a single field goal.
Fortunately for the Raptors, they have a top-tier defense that can put a lid on the bucket at the other end of the floor to keep them in it. It’s not a coincidence that one of the Celtics’ big four (Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart) have suffered at least one disastrously bad shooting night throughout this series.
Both teams’ starters logged 50-plus minutes in Game 6 and for two teams that launched a combined 78 3-point attempts per game this series, it’s hard to imagine either team having the legs to put up an epic offensive performance. Add in the standard Game 7 nervousness and you have the recipe for an ugly game.
Take the under.
The Pick: Under 204.5
Brandon Anderson: Celtics vs. Raptors
I’m with Matt and Raheem on the under. But you don’t need to read a third straight analysis of the same pick, so I’m picking a side.
Before the series, I picked the Celtics in six partly because I thought there were three possible outcomes for these games: Celtics win in a blowout, Celtics win close, Raptors win close. That’s exactly how this series has played out, with two blowout wins and four extremely close games, three of which have gone the Raptors’ way.
The Cs are the better team, and they’ve been better in this matchup. They have more options to score, and they’ve been the better defense in the series. The Raptors continue to go long stretches where they struggle to score, and if you think of the times the Raptors have come through, it involves a lot of difficult shot making by Kyle Lowry and/or Fred VanVleet.
Unsurprisingly, Toronto has shot well in its wins and poorly in its losses. The simplest answer in Game 7 is that it will come down to shooting variance, but that’s not very helpful.
The real play here is not taking either team in this game but playing their futures odds. I like both these teams better than the Miami Heat. The Heat will fight hard, but I’ll pick either of tonight’s winners in six in the next round. The Heat are a -125 favorites to win the East at DraftKings, which means they’re touting the Heat against either of these teams. The Celtics are +225, with the Raptors at +320.
If you agree that these teams are better than the Heat, skip the game result tonight and grab those conference odds. Otherwise, I’m riding with Boston.
The Pick: Celtics -3 | Celtics +225 to win the East