The Boston Celtics are 2.5-point favorites over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday afternoon at Scotiabank Center as the NBA tips off it’s Christmas Day festivities with a matchup featuring the defending champs.
Boston (20-7) has won three straight and seven of their last nine games as they continue a steady climb up the Eastern Conference standings, currently sitting in second place. Kemba Walker has been as advertised this season, leading the Celtics with 22.6 points and 5.4 assists per game. Boston’s defense has been the beasts of the easts, allowing just 103.2 points per game, the fewest in the conference and 2nd fewest in the NBA.
Toronto (21-9) has been ravaged by injuries this season and will be without starters Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam and key reserve Norman Powell for the foreseeable future. Kyle Lowry has picked up the slack offensively, averaging 25.6 points and 9.8 assists over his last five games. The Raptors have also excelled on defense this season, ranking 8th in the league allowing just 106.4 points per game and a +5.7 point differential.
ESPN’s FPI gives the Raptors a 53.0% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for the Christmas Day matchup between the Celtics and Raptors.
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Celtics vs. Raptors Game Details
Date: Wednesday, December 25
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
Location: Scotiabank Arena (Toronto, Ontario)
Spread: Celtics -2.5
This line opened at Celtics -2.5 and has been bet up to Celtics -3 with the large majority of the bets and money coming in on Boston. This line is correlated with the action and is moving with the market.
- Celtics are 20-7 SU and 17-8-2 ATS this season
- Raptors are 21-9 SU and 18-12 ATS this season
- Under is 16-11 in Celtics games this season
- Over is 15-14-1 in Raptors games this season
Analysis & Picks
I’m impressed with the improvements Boston has made since the beginning of the season. Their depth and talent is almost unmatched in the East and has emerged as the next best team behind Milwaukee as teams sprint past the quarter pole of the season. The Celtics are doing it with depth, and have five players averaging at least double-figures in scoring per game. They could use Marcus Smart back in the fold. Smart continues to miss time with an eye injury but should be back relatively soon. Boston can get by without him on Christmas Day, as they are facing a Toronto team that has been shredded by injuries. Kyle Lowry has picked up his game in the absence of Gasol, Siakama, and Powell, but he can only do so much. I fear for the Raptors season if those three injured Raptors miss significant time, which it appears they will. The line here is pretty telling, and the fact that a 21-win team is giving points at home tells me they are a fade in this spot. Boston defense shuts down a gimpy Toronto offense and the Celtics win on Christmas Day.
PICK: Celtics -2.5
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