Thursday NBA Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics Game 3 (Sept. 3)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Smart (right) guarded by Norman Powell.
- The Toronto Raptors enter their must-win matchup as 3-point favorites against the red-hot Boston Celtics Thursday.
- While Joe Dellera is tempted to take the Raptors tonight, he's focused on betting the over/under and a team total.
- Read his full game analysis, including what bets he's making in Game 3.
Raptors vs. Celtics Game 3 Betting Odds
|Raptors Odds||-3 [BET NOW]|
|Celtics Odds||+3 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-143/+120 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||217 (-113/-108) [BET NOW]|
|Time||6:30 p.m. ET|
The Raptors kept things close in Game 2, but ultimately blew a sizable lead in the fourth quarter and are now down 2-0 to the Celtics. Can Boston push for the sweep, or will Toronto capture what has quickly turned into a must-win game?
The Raptors were better in Game 2 than in Game 1, however, it still was not enough. They have continued to struggle from beyond the arc and they just do not look like they have a true closer on the court right now.
Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet look lost behind the arc, as they’ve shot a combined 17% from 3-point range. To put that into perspective, they shot 35.2% and 39% from 3 this season. You hate to pin so much of the series on poor shooting performances from this duo, but making 6 of 35 3-point shots just will not cut it against this Celtics defense.
Pascal Siakam simply disappeared down the stretch and he’s looked much more like a role player than the No. 1 option the Raptors need him to be. While he distributed six assists, I’m sure the Raptors would much rather see him in full-on attack mode, forcing his way to the free throw line and opening up looks for his teammates by attacking the paint.
His usage this series has sat around 21%, which is a sharp drop from the 27.8% he was entrusted with this season. Siakam needs to step up for the Raptors to win.
The Celtics seemingly have an answer for everything the Raptors have done this series, and even when they don’t have something that makes sense from a matchup perspective, Marcus Smart drills five 3-pointers in three minutes to singlehandedly bring the Celtics back and put them in position to win.
When I previewed Game 2, I talked about potential regression from the Celtics when shooting 3-point shots, and this did happen, however, the looks were still there. The Celtics once again took 46% of their shots from 3-point range (+10% from their season average). This leads to shooting variance, but it also means they have more room for error.
The Raptors have not been able to bring the Celtics down to their season average shooting 3-pointers (37%) and they have now shot 41.6% from deep in this series. Moreover, the looks that Boston has exchanged in favor of the 3-pointer are shots at the rim, which are not only higher percentage shots, but a more consistent source of points.
If the Celtics are going to suddenly lean into this and change their shot identity to shoot more 3s right now against a team that’s been literally the best team in the NBA at defending the 3-point line, then so be it, but this screams regression.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The Celtics absolutely should have lost Game 2, but I think it says more about what the Raptors did not do than what the Celtics did do. The Raptors did not finish and they allowed Smart, a 34.7% 3-point shooter, to bury five 3s in the fourth quarter. As a result, I have a lean on the Raptors to win here to make this series at least within shooting distance.
However, I’m targeting the total. Since 2005, it has been profitable to bet on unders in the playoffs when the teams playing have hit the under in at least two of the prior three games.
Per BetLabs, the Celtics are 35-42-1 this season (Over-Under-Push) and the Raptors are 38-39-1. The Celtics were actually the third-most profitable team to bet the under this season.
I think this is actionable, along with the Celtics’ team total. It’s sitting at 107.5 and I’m going to split that and the game total.
The Picks: Under 215 and Celtics’ team total under 107.5