The Toronto Raptors visit the Boston Celtics in a high-profile Eastern Conference matchup on Thursday. Toronto is on the second night of a back-to-back, with Boston on normal rest. The Celtics (18-17) are also on a three-game winning streak to eclipse the .500 mark. Boston is also 2-0 against the Raptors this season after toppling Toronto during the 2020 NBA Playoffs. For the Raptors (17-18), Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby all missed Wednesday's game as a result of the NBA's health and safety protocols and will be out again on Thursday.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET. Boston is an eight-point favorite in the latest Celtics vs. Raptors odds from William Hill Sportsbook. The over-under for total points is set at 220.5. Before making any Raptors vs. Celtics picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it returned over $5,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks last season. The model is also up nearly $8,500 on top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. Dating back to last season, it enters Week 11 of the 2020-21 NBA schedule on a stunning 85-52 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Raptors vs. Celtics spread: Celtics -8
- Raptors vs. Celtics over-under: 220.5 points
- Raptors vs. Celtics money line: Celtics -345, Raptors +285
- TOR: The Raptors are 10-9 against the spread in 2020-21 road games
- BOS: The Celtics are 4-6 against the spread in the last 10 games
Why the Raptors can cover
The Raptors are shorthanded in this matchup, however they do have strengths to focus on and the coaching of Nick Nurse is one of them. Nurse is regarded as one of the best tacticians in the NBA and, even with a limited roster, he can keep things interesting with innovation. Defensively, the Raptors are No. 2 in the NBA in forcing turnovers, prompting a giveaway on 16.4 percent of possessions, and that can help level the competition. Toronto is a top-five team in both blocks (5.7 per game) and steals (8.5 per game), and the Raptors are also No. 2 in the league in protecting the paint, allowing only 40.9 points per game.
Boston is a below-average shooting team, ranking 20th in true shooting percentage, and the Celtics land in the bottom five in creating assists at 22.3 per game. Toronto's offense could also be buoyed by Boston's weaknesses defensively, as the Celtics are a bottom-five in allowing opponents to create free throw attempts and a below-average team in two-point defense, allowing opponents to shoot 53.7 percent.
Why the Celtics can cover
Boston is an above-average offensive team, scoring 1.12 points per possession for the full season. The Celtics are an elite team on the offensive glass, pulling down almost 30 percent of their own missed shots, and Boston has three high-end shot creators. Jayson Tatum (24.9 points), Jaylen Brown (24.8 points) and Kemba Walker (18.6 points) can be relied upon for scoring, and the Celtics are an above-average team at generating free throw attempts.
Considering Toronto is No. 30 in the NBA in preventing free throw attempts defensively, that is an area of focus. Boston is above-average in turnover creation rate (14.4 percent) and defensive rebound rate (73.6 percent), with a top-five mark in allowing only 23.3 assists per game. The Celtics also excel in protecting the rim and slowing the opposition in transition, allowing only 45.8 points in the paint per game and 11.8 fast break points per game this season.
How to make Raptors vs. Celtics picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, projecting both teams to combine for 215 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits almost 60 percent of the time. You can get that pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Raptors vs. Celtics? And which side of the spread hits almost 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that on an 85-52 roll on NBA picks.