Saturday NBA Betting Picks: Our 4 Playoff Best Bets for Raptors vs. Celtics, Nuggets vs. Clippers (Sept. 5)

Saturday NBA Betting Picks: Our 4 Playoff Best Bets for Raptors vs. Celtics, Nuggets vs. Clippers (Sept. 5) article feature image
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Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Kawhi Leonard.

  • Looking for a few quick picks for Saturday's NBA games? Our staff breaks down their four favorite.
  • We're playing a prop, a team total and opposite sides in the Celtics-Raptors game.

Saturday’s NBA Playoff action features the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics in a pivotal Game 4 matchup after OG Anunoby’s game-winning buzze-beater to help Toronto take Game 3 on Thursday. Then in the late game, we’ll get to see if the Denver Nuggets can rise to the occasion after the Los Angeles Clippers’ 23-point Game 1 victory.

So, where’s the value today? Our staff is here to break down their favorite NBA bets for today’s slate and has found angles in both matchups:

  • 6:30 p.m. ET: Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics
  • 9:00 p.m. ET: Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Saturday NBA Betting Picks


Odds as of Saturday at 12:00 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Matt Moore: Raptors vs. Celtics

Raptors odds +1.5 [BET NOW]
Celtics odds -1.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +102/-121 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 214 [BET NOW]
Time 6:30 p.m. ET
TV TNT

I grabbed a half-unit on the Celtics based on the fact that the majority of tickets and money are on the Celtics — to the point where the line flipped to Celtics -1, then -2. It took a miraculous and incredible inbounds play, pass, and shot from Anunoby along with broken coverage for the Raptors to win Game 3. But I’m not ultra confident there.

However, I do think the Raptors will probably put up a better offensive performance in this one. I’m low on the Raptors offense; they ranked 18th in half-court offense in the regular season. But in this series, they’re generating a 51% expected effective field goal percentage based on where they’ve shot from and only have a 47.4% actual eFG% (via PBPStats.com).

Anytime I get that kind of differential between what they should shoot and what they have, I’m going to bank on regression — especially when the number has dipped thanks to the low scoring games in this series. I like Toronto to knock down some shots and put up a bigger number … but will it be enough?

The Pick: Raptors team total over 107.

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Brandon Anderson: Raptors vs. Celtics

For two games, 47 minutes, and 59-and-a-half seconds, this series looked like a sweep. The Raptors looked outmatched and outclassed, and Kemba Walker’s brilliant pass to Daniel Theis looked like the nail in the coffin for Toronto’s title campaign. Then, Kyle Lowry made an incredible pass over the towering Tacko Fall, OG Anunoby hit the shot heard round the world over Jaylen Brown’s outstretched arms, and Toronto’s season was saved.

Or was it?

I must admit, I was sure the Raptors’ season was over. They fought hard in a game they had to have and led late before Boston took control with a late 8-0 run. When Toronto called a timeout, I saw a look on those Raptors’ faces that I hadn’t seen from this group: I saw defeat. They had the look of a squad that knew they were beaten. They knew what we knew watching at home: that the Celtics were just better; that fight and championship mentality alone wasn’t going to be enough this time.

The Celtics have had the two best players in this series in Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum. You can make a decent argument that they’ve had the best four players in the series, given how well Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart have been playing. Pascal Siakam looks lost on both ends, Toronto’s big men haven’t shown up, and Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet aren’t doing enough. Boston’s best guys are playing heavy minutes and they’re playing well, and the Celtics just look like the team with more answers.

After three games, I’m convinced Boston is the better team in this matchup. Toronto will not go out easy; but until I see something otherwise, I’m picking the Celtics in any coin-flip situation.

The Celtics see what’s happening. They know they’re better than Miami, and they know they’re better than Toronto. The finish line is in sight. Give me Boston up to -2.5.

The Pick: Celtics -1.5 (Play up to -2.5)

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Brandon Anderson: Nuggets vs. Clippers

Nuggets odds +9.5 [BET NOW]
Clippers odds -9.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +350/-435 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 223 [BET NOW]
Time 9:00 p.m. ET
TV TNT

Nikola Jokic is a superstar, And he is still the best player on the Denver Nuggets, no matter how many shots Jamal Murray made last round. But Jokic is a different kind of superstar. Jokic dominates games with his vision, passing and all-around game — not by getting molten-hot shooting and piling up points.

That was not necessarily the case against the Utah Jazz. The Jazz knew that Rudy Gobert would be better staying at home near the rim on defense, and they challenged Jokic to beat them by scoring. Jokic responded by scoring at least 28 points in the five of seven games against Utah.

The Clippers are not the Jazz. They have no Gobert and aren’t playing Jokic as a scorer. His scoring dropped to 15 points in Game 1, and it was clear he was not hunting for his shot or quite as aggressive to score. Look for more of that in Game 2. This line has dropped from Game 1 but it’s still too high. Play the under down to -130.

The Pick: Jokic under 23.5 (+105)

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Raheem Palmer: Raptors vs. Celtics

The Celtics have left the door open, and the Raptors have life. For a team that’s coming off a championship, the last thing you want to do is leave the door open. Although the prevailing sentiment is that Boston should be up 3-0, you could also say Toronto should be up 2-1 right now.

It took five straight 3s from Marcus Smart and a meltdown offensively in the fourth quarter of Game 2 for the Celtics to take a 2-0 lead. The Raptors battled back to take Game 3 on a buzzer beater from OG Anunoby, and while people may view that as a fluke, there were signs that they have a chance in this series.

Pascal Siakam has finally found his offense, going 6-for-13 from the field for 14 points in the second half of Game 3. Fred VanVleet also found his footing, scoring 17 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

Furthermore, The Raptors were ranked third in 3-pointers made and fifth in 3-point percentage in the regular season, but Toronto has been the victim of poor variance to open the series. The Raptors shot 10-for-40 from 3 in Game 1, 11-for-40 in Game 2 and 5-for-22 in the first half of Game 3. Then, finally, at the midway point of Game 3, something shifted. The Raptors went 8-for-19 from 3-point range in the second half. It seems we’re finally getting some regression from Toronto’s shooting.

In addition, The Raptors have won the third quarter in all three games this series, which has shown us that Nick Nurse has made solid adjustments. He threw a zone at Boston’s defense and forced the Celtics to play Enes Kanter when they were struggling offensively.

Overall, The Raptors have shown us they won’t go away, and with their offense finally looking alive, I like them to tie the series in Game 4.

The Pick: Raptors +1.5.

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