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Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors Predictions, Picks and NBA Preview – February 24, 2017

Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors Predictions, Picks and NBA Preview – February 24, 2017


Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors Betting Preview

Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON

When: Friday, February 24, 2017, 8:00 PM ET

Line: Boston Celtics (+3) at Toronto Raptors (-3); total: 215.5view all NBA lines

TV Broadcast: ESPN

NBA News & Predictions

Betting on the Boston Celtics (37-20)

Point Spread: +3

One of the teams to watch out for in the second half are the red-hot Boston Celtics. Despite a bevy of injuries, the Celtics stormed into the All-Star break with an impressive 37-20 record, good enough for second place in the Eastern Conference standings. Isaiah Thomas has been unstoppable for the Celtics, averaging an incredible 29.9 points per game this season. His 20-point streak now stands at 41 games after his 29-point explosion against the Bulls prior to the All-Star break. Thomas has also improved his shooting percentages to 46.7 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from beyond the arc this season.

Many were expecting the Celtics to bolster their lineup with a blockbuster acquisition this past trade deadline but surprisingly no deal came into fruition. GM Danny Ainge ultimately decided that the current Boston squad is good enough to win the title this season. The stats back up Ainge’s assumption for that matter. The Celtics are 16-6 when they have their four core starters – Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Al Horford – together this season. With Bradley set to return to the starting lineup after missing 20 of Boston’s past 21 games with an Achilles injury, the sky’s the limit for a Celtics side that’s looking to win its first NBA championship since 2008.

The Celtics are 5-5 SU and 5-4-1 ATS in their last 10 road games. They are pegged at +1,000 to win this year’s NBA Championship.

Betting on the Toronto Raptors (33-24)

Point Spread: -3

Before the New Orleans Pelicans grabbed the headlines with their DeMarcus Cousins robbery last All-Star weekend, the Raptors pulled off a similar heist, snagging Serge Ibaka from the clutches of the Orlando Magic for just a first-round pick and Terrence Ross. The Raptors hope that that deal will help boost a campaign that has alarmingly gone off the rails. They have dropped 11 of their last 16 games prior to the All-Star break to fall into fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a precarious 33-24 record.

Ibaka, who was acquired by Orlando in an offseason trade for Victor Oladipo, has started in 56 of the Magic’s 57 games this season and is second on the team with 15.1 points per game. The 27-year-old is also averaging 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game this season. Ibaka’s a great basketball fit for Toronto as he brings to the table not only toughness and rim protection but also an impressive touch from beyond the arc. His three-point percentage is marginally higher this season than Terrence Ross’s (38.8 per cent to 37.5 per cent) and it’s interesting to see how the Raptors will utilize Ibaka’s stretch-four capabilities.

Ibaka’s arrival will also help ease the burden on starting point guard Kyle Lowry. Nobody has averaged more minutes in the NBA this season than Lowry’s 37.7 a night. He burnt out under a similar workload two seasons ago so it’s crucial for Dwayne Casey that he manages Lowry’s minutes in the second half. Lowry has been exceptional against the Celtics, averaging 30.0 points, 5.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds in three meetings with Boston this season.

The Raptors are 6-4 SU and 4-6 ATS in their last 10 home games. They are pegged at +2,500 to win this year’s NBA Championship.

Writer’s Prediction

Toronto (-3) wins, 107-102.

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Written by Joel

Sports Betting Tips, News, and Analysis