Let the Celtics Make You Plenty of Green at Raptors

celtics hoops

Swinging Johnson

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 2:26 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 4, 2018 2:26 PM UTC

In what could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals, ESPN will televise the second-place Boston Celtics taking on their rivals from Toronto in a battle for the top spot in the East. Let’s break down this pivotal matchup.

Celtics (53-24 SU, 47-27-3 ATS) at Raptors (55-22 SU, 40-37 ATS)Free NBA Pick: Celtics +8Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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  • Toronto is 14-22 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
  • Toronto is 5-13 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season.
  • Toronto is 31-33 ATS as a favorite this season.
  • Boston is 17-3 ATS as an underdog this season.
  • Boston is 27-11 ATS on the road this season.
  • Boston is 24-12 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record this season.

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We had a shot at a W in crunch time, but for the first time in a long time, we weren’t able to make the necessary clutch plays Tuesday in Milwaukee. pic.twitter.com/8VrhXomeVK

— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 4, 2018
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Boston suffered a 106-102 loss Tuesday at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks but narrowly brought home the cash for all who backed them in their NBA picks as five-point road dogs. The third quarter proved to be the death knell for the Celtics as Milwaukee held them to just 15 points. Jaylen Brown led the Green with 24 points, and despite Boston’s 31 points in the final frame it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit and an injury-riddled Celtics roster.

The Raptors are also coming off a Tuesday loss as they fell 112-106 to the Cleveland Cavaliers and now must return home to face the team nipping at their heels for the No. 1 seed in the East. It was a grim reminder of the problems LeBron James and Co. have presented, having eliminated the Raptors from the playoffs over the past two seasons. DeMar DeRozan scored 19 points, while center Jonas Valanciunas grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Toronto.

The trends above appear to be favoring Boston, but there is one huge advantage that the home team has going for it. The Raptors have dominated the Celtics in games played in Toronto as evidenced by their 5-0 straight up and ATS record over the last three seasons. In addition, Boston has been ravaged by injuries this season, starting with arguably their second-best player Gordon Hayward going down with a season-ending broken ankle in the first game of the season, and now their best player in Kyrie Irving being sidelined with a knee injury. Add to that, injuries to Marcus Smart (hand), and Irving’s replacement, Terry Rozier, who was out Tuesday with a sprained ankle. Even reserve Shane Larkin sat Tuesday with an illness. That forced little-used Kadeem Allen into a starting role in which he played 23 minutes and notched just two points.

It appears as though Rozier and Larkin will return for tonight’s contest, and it should also be noted that prior to their loss Tuesday, Boston had won six straight and has covered the NBA odds board in six of their last seven. Conversely, Toronto has failed to cover the number in nine straight contests heading into tonight, and head coach Dwane Casey has been vocal about keeping his stars fresh for the postseason.

This Celtics team is gritty and the emergence of Marcus Morris, shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and from beyond the arc over his last six games, has been a huge boon to this battered roster. This game is crucial for both teams. The oddsmakers are handing the Celtics too many points, and we will gladly take what they are generously giving for an NBA pick.

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