Celtics-Raptors: Friday Could Be Early Hint as to East’s Best Team

Thursday, October 18, 2018 1:20 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018 1:20 PM UTC

Some good matchups on the first Friday of the NBA season, but none can beat Celtics-Raptors from Toronto and nationally televised by ESPN.

<h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/nba-basketball/boston-celtics-vs-toronto-raptors-3569348/odds/" rel="nofollow">Boston (1-0, 1-0 ATS) at Toronto (1-0, 0-1 ATS)</a></h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Friday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)</h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Free NBA Pick: Under</h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Best Line Offered: <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=4423&amp;book=BetOnline" rel="nofollow">BetOnline</a></h2><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3569348, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,999991,238,169,19], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><p>Obviously, it’s way too early to make any declarations about the 2018-19 NBA season. There could be major injuries and trades, etc. That said, we might get an early hint as to which team might be the Eastern Conference’s best when the <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/nba-basketball/" rel="nofollow">Celtics and Raptors clash from Toronto on Friday</a> in front of a national TV audience on ESPN.</p><p>The Celtics sure looked good in their home opener on Tuesday night in thumping the rival 76ers 105-87. Well, Boston looked good defensively in holding the 76ers to 39.1 percent shooting and winning the rebound battle. Offensively, the C’s hit just 43.3 percent and missed 26 of 37 three-pointers.</p><p>That was only the second game that All-Stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving have played together; remember, Hayward went down very early on Opening Night last year and was done. Irving was just 2-for-14 for seven points Friday, while Hayward was 4-for-12 for 10 points. Hayward will be on a minutes restriction for a bit.</p><p>What should worry Eastern foes is that Boston won by that much with Irving and Hayward shooting so poorly. Jayson Tatum was terrific with 23 points, and Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier combined for 27 off the bench. Morris has said Boston has the bench in the NBA, and with Hayward back -- thus shifting Morris to the bench -- he might be right. Morris, Rozier and Marcus Smart would all start for several other teams.</p><p>Last year, the Celtics won both home regular-season games vs. the Raptors and lost both in Toronto. The Drakes have taken the past six in the series at the newly-renamed Scotiabank Arena. The teams play four times this year as well, the last on Feb. 26 in Toronto. Every win in the series could prove a crucial tiebreaker.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;This kid is GOOD. &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/IO3O644eci\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/IO3O644eci&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Boston Celtics (@celtics) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/celtics/status/1052568509325238273?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;October 17, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><h2>Leonard Welcomed Warmly</h2><p>The Nick Nurse and Kawhi Leonard era tipped off Wednesday for the Raptors and they beat visiting Cleveland 116-104. Nurse was promoted to head coach this offseason following Dwane Casey’s firing, and, well, you know all about the Leonard trade from San Antonio. Most believe this will be his only season in the Great White North.</p><p>The Raptors are hoping to convince Leonard to re-sign as a free agent after this season, and so he was introduced last to get some love and indeed received a rousing ovation. Leonard, who played just nine games last year due to injury, responded with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Kyle Lowry had 27 points on 10-for-12 shooting to go with eight assists. Danny Green added 11 points and five points in his Toronto debut.</p><p>Really, the only three guys who should start every game for Toronto are Leonard, Lowry and Green. Nurse says he will mix and match the other two spots depending on matchups. Against the Cavs, Pascal Siakam (13 points) got the start a power forward and Jonas Valanciunas (six points, 12 rebounds) at center with Serge Ibaka (nine points) and OG Anunoby (four points) coming off the bench. Anunoby, a really good-looking second-year player, left Wednesday's game after getting hit in the face and didn’t return. Backup point guard Delon Wright (strained left adductor) didn’t play. Not clear as of this writing if either will play Friday.</p><ul> <li>Home team is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings.</li> <li>Under is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings.</li> <li>Under is 6-2 in Celtics last 8 vs. Eastern Conference.</li></ul><p>The <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/nba/" rel="nofollow">best Friday bet </a>here would appear to be the ‘under’ with guys like Irving, Hayward and Leonard perhaps a bit rusty off long injury absences. Plus, these are two of the best defensive teams in the NBA.</p>
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