NBA Picks: Celtics vs. Raptors

Steven Suarez

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 3:09 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 3:09 PM UTC

Life without Rajon Rondo has been better than expected for the Celtics, but tonight we think the good times may come to an end. What's the best option for our NBA picks tonight when the Celtics face the Raptors?

Odds Overview

At the moment, most sportsbooks have the Raptors favored by 2.5 points, up from an opening line of two. We wouldn't be surprised if that number continues to rise and hits three by tipoff time. As always, keep up-to-date with all of the live lines as SBR's NBA odds page.

The O/U is quoted at 188, with the UNDER having hit in four of the previous five head-to-head encounters between these Eastern Conference squads.


Boston Celtics

You couldn't have asked for a better home-stand out of the Celtics, as they went a perfect 4-0 both straight up and against the spread, while also beating Miami (100-98) and the L.A. Clippers (106-104) in close finishes.

Three days ago Boston came in as the one-point underdogs at home against the CP3-less Clippers and took care of business. The Celtics shot 50.0 percent overall, 61.1 percent from three and 85.2 percent from the line.

Paul Pierce ended up with 22 points, five boards and four assists, but we have to say it was the bench that ultimately made the difference. Boston got a combined 41 points out of Jason Terry, Jeff Green and Leandro Barbosa.

The Celtics' recent play has been so impressive because they've had to completely change their rotation around due to the season-ending injuries to Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger. Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley are now the starters in the backcourt, while Brandon Bass has re-gained his spot as well.

But can Boston carry over the momentum to the road? They haven't been nearly the same team when not in the comfortable confines of TD Garden.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors began their Rudy Gay era off in style, crushing the Clippers 98-73 last Friday. However, they couldn't repeat that performance against Miami on Sunday, with the defending champions locking it down defensively and winning 100-85.

There was no stopping the Heat's Big Three. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh totaled 81 points, 18 rebounds and 12 assists, with Toronto left helpless to contain them.

Still, there were a couple individual highlights for the Raptors in spite of the loss. Gay poured in 29 points on 11-of-23 shooting and added four boards, two dimes and three steals, while DeMar DeRozan was a perfect 14-of-14 from the charity stripe and finished with 27 points of his own.

Toronto fans can also be encouraged by how their team has fared after losses recently. The Raptors are 4-1 ATS in their last five matchups following a SU defeat. They're also 6-2-1 ATS over their past nine games after a double-digit loss.

Moreover, we can't read too much into Toronto's earlier loss to Boston this season, considering Rondo had 20 assists and Sullinger logged a double-double. The makeups of both teams are vastly different now.

NBA Pick

We love how the Celtics have been playing without Rondo out there, but this seems like a letdown spot to us.

Toronto, as we frequently talk about, has one of the better home-court advantages in the NBA, and there's sure to be a great atmosphere for this visit of Boston. Coming in the Raptors are 14-10 ATS at home.

The Celtics meanwhile have really had a hard time on the road this season, going 7-14 SU and 6-14-1 ATS. They're just 3-11 ATS over their last 14 contests outside of Beantown and we see them picking up another spread loss tonight.

With Gay finding his feet in his new home and Toronto looking to respond the right way after a double-digit loss to the Heat, we believe the Raptors are worth adding to our sports picks as they will get it done and cover.

NBA Pick: Toronto Raptors -2.5

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