Free NBA Picks: Raptors Will Win & Cover Against Tired Celtics

Nikki Adams

Friday, March 18, 2016 5:28 PM GMT

The Celtics take on the Raptors tonight in an Atlantic divisional clash that strikes an intriguing pose on the NBA odds board. Can Boston deliver an upset? Let's analyse this matchup.

Boston Celtics (39-29)
Boston Celtics look to snap a three-game losing streak when they take on the Toronto Raptors tonight and, somewhat surprisingly given their current poor run of form, the NBA odds aren’t exactly stacked against them. The Celtics as the nominal road underdogs, anywhere from +105 to +115 depending on your sportsbook of choice, and they are nestled delicately on a mere 1.5-to-2-point line against the spread. Does this mean the upset is a reasonable proposition for your NBA picks?

Indeed, odds makers opened the Celtics at +140 to win straight up (or thereabouts) and at +3 against the spread when markets went to press, but as public money poured in – almost at a 50-50 split between the pair in money line betting and spread betting markets – the line shortened in favor of the Celtics. Granted the Celtics are second in the Atlantic Division with a 39-29 SU mark that includes a so-so 16-17 SU mark on the road, and they are second to the Toronto Raptors in divisional standings and fourth overall in the Eastern Conference. However, recent form is a cause for concern and makes this rather curious NBA betting trend intriguing.

A three-game losing streak ahead of this clash and a 1-4 SU mark in their last five games is nothing to brush under the carpet. There’s also the fact that they’ve lost two previous meetings with the Raptors this season – 103-113 at home and 109-115 away – and boast a three-game losing streak on the road and a 1-4 SU mark in their last five road games.

Based on current form and current away form, betting on the Celtics to mastermind the upset and win in Toronto does seem a ballsy bet. Where the nominal 1.5-to-2-point spread is concerned, it also does seem quite stretch for the Celtics to cover. They are 36-31-1 ATS on the season with a 3.7-point winning margin and a plus 1.2-point differential versus the spread. On the road, they are 16-16-0 ATS with a 1.4-point losing margin and a plus 1.7-point differential versus the spread.

 

Toronto Raptors (46-21)
The Toronto Raptors are looking to build on a two-game winning streak tonight when they host familiar foes Boston Celtics. The Raptors are coming off big wins over Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers – a back-to-back road winning streak they hope will be the catalyst for a return to winning form at home.

Prior to hitting the road, the Raptors lost to Chicago Bulls 109-107 all while trading as the significant home chalk. It did mark jus their eighth loss at home on the season and second home loss in their last ten at the Air Canada Centre. Overall, the Raptors are 7-3 SU in their last ten games and 26-8 SU at home for the season.

Toronto have a significant edge over the Celtics in the Atlantic standings and they’ll be looking to advance that edge with a third straight win over their rivals. On paper, the Raptors are the better team with a 46-21-0 SU mark and a 37-30-0 ATS mark on the season with a 4.6-point winning margin and a plus 1.1-point differential versus the spread. As home team, they are 18-16-0 ATS with a 6.4-point winning margin and a plus 0.4-point differential versus the spread. In divisional action, they are a convincing 8-3-0 ATS with a whopping 12.2-point winning margin and a plus 4.5-point differential versus the spread.

 

Betting Verdict
The Raptors tick all the boxes: they have form ahead of this clash, they have the head-to-head advantage and they have a stellar home record. All those things make the Raptors our choice NBA pick for this game to both win straight up and cover. If there were one thing that goes against the Raptors, it’s the fact that they are playing their second game in as many nights. That might be the impetus behind the slight lean in the public towards the Celtics on the road, as well the divisional component. However seeing that the Raptors are 7-6-0 SU and ATS on the season following no rest and boast a 3.8-point winning margin and a plus 2.2-point differential versus the spread, we’re still comfortable chancing the Raptors on our NBA picks.

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NBA Picks: Raptors -2 & ML (-120)
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle