Favored Raptors, Celtics Are Thursday's Winning Picks

Troy Haliburton

Thursday, December 21, 2017 6:32 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 6:32 PM UTC

Let’s take a look at some of the slated NBA action for Thursday night and see if we can find quality bets to make on Toronto at Philadelphia and Boston at New York.

Raptors at Sixers

Toronto will be looking to extend its hot streak against the struggling Philadelphia 76ers. The Raptors have won four in a row and 10 of their last 11. DeMar DeRozan is still taking his patented mid-range jumpers and working around the basket, and Kyle Lowry is as feisty as ever running the team. The biggest surprise for the Raptors has been the play of rookie small forward OG Anunoby, who has impressed everyone with his shooting stroke from behind the arc. In last night's win over the Hornets, Anunoby scored 29 points while hitting six of seven shots from three-point range.

The Sixers started the season as one of the hottest teams in the NBA and certainly had the buzz surrounding them. Now the Sixers are struggling mightily and will appear to be fighting to have a playoff spot down the stretch. The biggest reason for their struggles has to be the absence of star center Joel Embiid, who has missed the last three games with a sore back. The Sixers are 1-6 without Embiid this season and desperately need the big man to be in the lineup if they want to compete with the better teams in the conference.

All indications are that Embiid will miss tonight’s game against the Raptors, making it virtually impossible for the Sixers to pull off the upset.

Free NBA Pick: Raptors -2.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Celtics at Knicks

The New York Knicks continue to surprise the NBA world as they keep winning basketball games, with or without their unicorn. Kristaps Porzingis is establishing himself as one of the dominant players in the game, and certainly making a strong case for an All-Star bid. The Latvian forward continues to display that versatile talent that the Knicks are more than comfortable with riding to victory.

The Knicks have figured out a way to not only feed Porzingis the rock and allow him to shine, but they have built up the trust among the supporting cast players to make them feel comfortable enough to make plays in the game.

The Boston Celtics started out as one of the hottest teams in the NBA, but have cooled off recently. Boston is coming into tonight’s game having just lost a buzzer-beater to the Miami Heat in which former Celtic Kelly Olynyk had a career-high 32 points against his former team.

The key to the Celtics’ defensive versatility has to be the play of power forward Al Horford. He is having one of the best years of his career from a versatility standpoint and honestly is doing his best Draymond Green impersonation. Big Al has the ability to not only stand his ground in the paint when bigger defenders try to back him down, but he can also hedge hard and pick up wing players on defensive switches. That rare ability has Horford anchoring the Celtics' defense and puts opposing teams in a bind as far as how to attack them.

Free NBA Pick: Celtics -3Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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