Celtics vs. Raptors Odds & Game 2 Pick: Bet On Toronto to Bounce Back Tuesday
David Sherman/Getty Images. Pictured: Pascal Siakam.
Celtics vs. Raptors Game 2 Betting Odds
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|Celtics Odds||+1.5 [BET NOW]|
|Raptors Odds||-1.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+102/-120 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||216.5 (-112/-109) [BET NOW]|
|Time||Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. ET|
In Game 1 on Sunday, the Boston Celtics took a commanding lead right from tip-off and never let up against the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors, cruising to an 18-point victory.
Can the Celtics repeat that performance, or will the Raptors even this series at one game apiece?
The Celtics started this series off with a bang, as they put up 39 points in the first quarter and seemed to completely control any runs the Raptors might try to get off to during the game. But what did Boston do exactly, and is it repeatable?
The Celtics are an excellent offensive team. They had the fourth-best Offensive Rating in the league, and they shoot 46.1% from the field. They did this despite having a league average eFG%.
In Game 1, the Celtics took 46% of their shots from 3-point range and made 47.2% of them (excluding garbage time, per Cleaning the Glass). During the season as a whole, they shot 35.8% and 36.9%, respectively.
Specifically, Boston absolutely buried corner 3s. The Raptors give up this shot, along with all 3-pointers at the highest rate in the league, and if the Celtics can capitalize on this opening, they will have a significant opportunity to run up the score. One issue: Toronto normally defends this shot the best in the league with the best shooting average against (34.3% from 3).
Boston also did an excellent job defending Pascal Siakam – he was limited to 13 points on 5-of-16 shooting. He did himself no favors by picking up three fouls in the first eight minutes of playing, but the Celtics were able to switch on him effectively in a “mismatch” with Marcus Smart, and Semi Ojeleye(!!) even had positive contributions defensively.
However, Boston does need to work on protecting the basketball better. The 23 turnovers committed by the Celtics is just unacceptable, and even though the Raptors force turnovers at the second-highest rate in the league, this team is sixth-best in terms of ball security.
The Raptors never could get within striking distance in Game 1, but one of the biggest hurdles they are going to deal with is their offense.
Boston owns the fourth-best defense in the league and certainly showed up. Toronto was limited to just 84 points on 95 possessions and a brutal 41.1% eFG%. The Raptors and head coach Nick Nurse need an answer for the defensive schemes counterpart Brad Stevens threw at them.
One of the critical points was the storming of Fred VanVleet, who had difficulty getting good looks and only shot 18.7% from the field. VanVleet had good looks, he just could not get anything to fall.
The larger issue for the Raptors is that their bigs cannot settle for taking 3s – that’s generally a bad possession. Siakam, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol were a combined 4-of-16 from 3-point range. I think Toronto settled for these shots in part because of the deficit, but also because Siakam was in foul trouble, which made it more difficult to penetrate and create spacing and mismatches on the perimeter.
The Raptors did find success in transition. They were in transition on 17.9% of their plays to a tune of 131.3 points per 100 plays. Toronto did this despite Boston having the best transition defense in the league (114.4 points per 100 transition plays).
Expect the Raptors to try and run again in Game 2 — and maybe even more often — to avoid some of the traditional half-court schemes the Celtics were employing (swarming FVV, dropping on bigs at the 3-point line) and create chaos.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I do not think Boston is significantly better than Toronto. Instead, the Celtics executed everything perfectly in Game 1, and Siakam’s foul trouble certainly did not help.
Boston outscored Toronto 73-71 after the first quarter of Game 1, and I think that’s more indicative of how this series should go from here on out. Obviously, that doesn’t account for a nearly 20-point lead for the Celtics after the first, but even accounting for “garbage time” this remained relatively close after the opening 12 minutes.
Boston’s shooting should regress from long range, and Toronto’s almost has to improve (25%). This should be a long and close series. I’m backing the Raptors to even this up.
THE PICK: Raptors ML -118