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NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Sunday’s 4 Best Bets for Celtics vs. Nuggets, Raptors vs. 76ers & More (March 20)

NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Sunday’s 4 Best Bets for Celtics vs. Nuggets, Raptors vs. 76ers & More (March 20) article feature image
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Cole Burston/Getty Images. Pictured: Scottie Barnes.

  • With nine games on the NBA slate on Sunday, our staff has focused on two.
  • The Nuggets are in Boston tonight, while the Raptors face off against the 76ers.
  • Check out our four picks for those two games below.

While the college kids have the biggest spotlight on them this weekend, the NBA isn’t going to sit back idly.

There are nine professional matchups to finish the week, starting early in the afternoon and going until late at night. There are a few matchups with potential playoff seeding implications, including one in Philadelphia.

Our staff of NBA bettors has targeted two games for its four picks on Sunday. Check out their game previews and picks below.

NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Boston Celtics vs. Denver Nuggets
8 p.m. ET
Boston Celtics vs. Denver Nuggets
8 p.m. ET
Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers
8:30 p.m. ET
Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers
8:30 p.m. ET

Boston Celtics vs. Denver Nuggets

Pick
Celtics -2.5
Book
BetMGM
Tipoff
8 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Matt Moore: This is a win profile play.

The Nuggets have simply not been good vs. good teams this season. Via GimmeTheDog.com, Denver is just 2-7 against the spread (ATS) at home against teams with a winning percentage better than 60%. They have a -4.3 spread differential at home vs. top-10 teams in point differential, via CleaningTheGlass.

The Celtics have the size to match up with Jokic by using Al Horford and Robert Williams. While their usual switch scheme gets busted by Jokic, their personnel gives Denver problems.

The Nuggets are 0-4-1 ATS vs. the Celtics since 2019-20. Denver coming off an East Coast road trip with an early Sunday tip is not a good recipe.

I’ll lay the points with Boston.

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Boston Celtics vs. Denver Nuggets

Pick
Under 221.5
Book
PointsBet
Tipoff
8 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Raheem Palmer: These two teams play among the fewest number of possessions in the NBA.

The Celtics are 24th in pace (96.7) and 25th in Offensive Length of Possession (15.1 seconds) while the Nuggets are 20th in pace (97.8) and 19th in Offensive Length of Possession (14.7 seconds). We have a game in which we shouldn’t see too many possessions.

While both of these offenses are among the top 10 over the past two weeks, the Celtics have the best defense in the league, holding teams to 106.4 points per 100 possessions. The Nuggets are 11th in Defensive Rating (115) over the past two weeks, but they’re third in opponent 3-point percentage (34.2%), which is big against a Celtics team which is shooting the ninth-most frequency of field goals from behind the arc (38.6%).

If you look at the recent matchups between these two teams, they’ve played to scores of 108-102, 105-87, 112-99, 108-95, 92-96 and 105-114. These two teams tend to trend under the total and since it’s not broken, I won’t attempt to fix it.

I’ll play the under 221.5, with my model making this total 216.


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Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Pick
Under 219
Book
PointsBet
Tipoff
8:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Austin Wang: The Sixers are one game ahead of the Boston Celtics and 4.5 games ahead of the Raptors in the division. With a tight race in the Eastern Conference, this game could impact the final standings and playoff seeding.

It was announced Sunday morning that Fred VanVleet will be out of the lineup due to injury management. This will be the sixth game he has missed in March. In the five games he has missed, the Raptors have gone 4-1 to the under. Outside of an outlier 127-point performance against the Nuggets, they only averaged 102 points per game in the other four.

Both of these teams play at a slow tempo and have above average defenses. In addition, with this being a divisional matchup with playoff seeding implications, I expect the defensive intensity to be high. Without VanVleet, I see some value on the under at 219.

Joel Embiid is listed as questionable with a sore back. The 76ers are on the first leg of a back-to-back with the number one seed Miami Heat coming to town on Monday evening. I think there is a solid chance he sits tonight and if so, there is even more upside on betting the total here.

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Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Pick
Raptors +6.5
Book
PointsBet
Tipoff
8:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Matthew Trebby: This one comes down to recent form, although both the Raptors and 76ers have been winning of late.

Philadelphia has won four of its last six games, although it has done so with a -0.3 Net Rating during that stretch. That tells me the Sixers are winning mostly because of their talent. The two losses were an embarrassing 29-point shellacking against the Nets and then a four-point loss to the Nuggets. Both were notably at home.

The Raptors, meanwhile, continue to surprise the NBA. At 39-31, Toronto will be back in the playoffs this year.

Nick Nurse’s team lost five of seven from Feb. 25-March 6, including iffy defeats against the Hawks, Pistons and Magic. Turns out, a trip out west is what the Raptors needed. They won five straight over the Spurs, Suns, Nuggets, Lakers and Clippers, before falling to the Lakers in overtime on Friday night.

Over their last six games, the Raptors have a great 6.1 Net Rating.

Now, Toronto hits the road again. The Raptors are a stellar 24-13 against the spread outside of Canada this season, while Philadelphia is just 14-21 at home.

As Austin mentioned above, VanVleet’s absence is noteworthy, although the Raptors beat Denver without him during this winning run. If Embiid was going to sit out one of these two games, I’d think it’d be this one to keep him fresh to face the East’s elite team in Miami.

Back the trends, as well as the team that’s playing better at the moment.

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