Tonight's game between the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics will have consequences for the upcoming NBA playoffs. Factor in these motivations before placing your NBA picks.
Toronto Raptors (-2) vs. Boston Celtics 7:35 ET
The Toronto Raptors visit the Boston Celtics tonight at 7:35 ET. The Celtics stand 38-42 SU, currently in 7th place and have become underdogs in the NBA odds trading right now. They lead Indiana by 1 game and Brooklyn by 2 games in the loss column. Boston has clinched a post-season berth but is still motivated to claim the 7th spot. Toronto has a record of 48-32 SU. Though the Raptors have clinched the division, they currently trail Chicago by 1 game in the win column for 3rdplace. Achieving that 3rd spot, would mean the Raptors play the fading Milwaukee Bucks rather than the Washington Wizards in the 1st Round of the playoffs. Based on the above facts, I consider there to be more Playoffs motivation for Toronto in this game. After Toronto won the first 2 games of this series, the Celtics claimed a 117-116 OT decision in Toronto on April 4th. The Raptors will not take this team lightly.
In early February, Boston was 14 games below .500 with little hope of a post-season berth. Since that time, they have gone 22-12 SU for their current 7th place spot. This includes 6-1 SU of late with 4 consecutive victories. But, the Celtics have been paying off people placing NBA picks on them since long before that. In fact, Boston has recently gone 42-23-1 ATS, including 11-4-1 ATS on this court. Credit HC Brad Stevens who says that despite clinching a playoff spot, he will not rest any players. Whether the Celtics make any noise in the post-season or not, this has been a very positive experience for this young team.
With a 107-104 victory over Miami on Saturday, Toronto clinched home court advantage for the First Round. They are the Atlantic Division Champions. Like the Celtics, they are entering with solid momentum on a 6-2 SU run, including 3 consecutive victories on the road. With a home game against Charlotte tomorrow night, the Raptors have a clear scheduling edge over a Chicago team who must host the No. 1 seed, Atlanta, in the final game of the season.
It is a nice Cinderella story for the Celtics. There is abundant young talent throughout the roster, including big men, Zeller and Olynyk, as well as a point guard with players like Isiah Thomas and Marcus Smart. It is also a solid plus for Boston that they have a coach such as Stevens, who is known for developing talent during his days at Butler. But, the Raptors are the more talented team with greater experience. The guard trio of Lowry, DeRozan and Williams gives the Raptors a major edge on the perimeter. The Raptors 22-18 SU road record implies they can use their greater experience and road ability to get this victory.
NBA Picks: Take Toronto Raptors at BetOnline