Healthy Raptors Visit Wounded C’s

Saturday, March 31, 2018 2:19 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 31, 2018 2:19 PM UTC

The Toronto Raptors have all hands on deck for Saturday’s game against the Boston Celtics – but the C’s have been an outstanding basketball pick despite their injuries.

Toronto Raptors vs Boston Celtics

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Free NBA Pick: Under 207Best Line Offered: at Heritage

It’s been yet another profitable season for the Toronto Raptors (55-20 SU, 40-35 ATS). Or at least it has been up to this point. The Raptors have hit a rough patch on their way to the playoffs; they’re 4-3 SU and 0-7 ATS in their last seven games, alternating wins and losses in frustrating fashion. They’re healthy, but they’re also tired. First-world problems.

The Raptors won’t get any sympathy from the Boston Celtics. Despite getting whittled down to the bare nub by injuries, the Celtics are this year’s most profitable team at 52-23 SU and 46-27-2 ATS. They lost Gordon Hayward (broken leg) on Day One, and they won’t have Kyrie Irving (sore knee) for Saturday’s game against Toronto, tipping off at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on NBA-TV. Al Horford (sore ankle) might have to sit this one out, too. With his status up in the air at press time, the lines for Saturday’s game are off the NBA odds board – but we’ll soldier on regardless.

We Need to Talk About Serge Ibaka

If Toronto’s recent ATS slump weren’t a factor, we’d definitely avoid putting either of these teams in our NBA picks. They’re both undervalued for different reasons; the Raptors do their thing north of the border without a lot of press, and the Celtics have a ridiculously good coach in Brad Stevens, plus a deep-enough roster to overcome their injuries and outperform expectations.

Dwane Casey has all the depth in the world, too, and there’s a good chance he’ll win Coach of the Year honors for Toronto. But there’s still one bugaboo with Casey: His substitution patterns. Serge Ibaka (minus-0.7 BPM) is getting overused, at the expense of Jonas Valanciunas (plus-1.7 BPM), Pascal Siakam (plus-2.3 BPM), Jakob Poeltl (plus-3.2 BPM), and especially Lucas Nogueira (plus-5.1 BPM). Ibaka is breaking down at the end of a long season, posting a minus-1.3 in March and shooting just 40 percent from the floor.

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Poor Ibaka really thought he was back in OKC practicing. 😩

— MilyStar ******1/4 (@DayDreamThis) March 24, 2018

Good news for Ibaka and the Raptors: They go into Saturday’s matchup on three full days of rest. And now the bad news: Boston will have had two days off, and they’re 12-4 SU and ATS since the All-Star break. But again, they won’t have Irving (plus-6.3 BPM) in uniform, nor Marcus Smart (minus-0.4 BPM), nor Daniel Thies (plus-2.7 BPM). Horford (plus-4.1 BPM) and Marcus Morris (minus-1.3 BPM) may or may not play. We’re inclined to recommend the UNDER here at the ranch – it’s 6-2 since Irving’s last game – but as always, wait for the lines to come out, pile on if you see a good price, and may the sphere be with you.

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