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.

<h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="" title="Live Odds For This game">Toronto Raptors vs Boston Celtics</a></h2><p style="text-align:center">[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3264161, "sportsbooksIds":[169,93,1096,180,139], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><h2 style="text-align:center">Free NBA Pick: Under 207</h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Best Line Offered: <a href=";book=Intertops" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">at Heritage</a></h2><p>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.<br /><br />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 <a href="">NBA odds board</a> – but we’ll soldier on regardless.</p><h2><strong>We Need to Talk About Serge Ibaka</strong></h2><p>If Toronto’s recent ATS slump weren’t a factor, we’d definitely avoid putting either of these teams in our <a href="">NBA picks</a>. 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.<br /><br />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.</p><blockquote><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Poor Ibaka really thought he was back in OKC practicing. 😩 &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— MilyStar ******1/4 (@DayDreamThis) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;March 24, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p></blockquote><p>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.</p>
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