The Boston Celtics will try to build on their amazing 11 game winning streak when they take on the Raptors on Sunday, but they might have to do that without their best player, Kyrie Irving.
Boston (11-2, 5-1 home) is riding an 11 game winning streak coming into this clash. The Celtics suffered defeat in their first two games of the season and also lost their second best player, Hayward, in the season opener – which brought up questions about their ability to repeat last year’s trip to the Eastern Conference finals. Surprisingly, the Celtics went on a tear without Hayward and currently own the best record in the NBA, but they did show increasing struggles in their last few games.
Toronto (7-4, 3-3 away) is the same solid team they were in the past couple of seasons, and they should be fine for a Top 4 finish in the East again this year. The Raptors have been in decent form lately, winning 3 of their last 4 games and two in a row – although they did struggle to put away the weak Bulls and the Pelicans at home in those previous two outings.Bet on Celtics vs. Raptors and claim your 100% (100 Euro) freebet at Ohmbet now!
Team news: The big news ahead of this clash is the questionable status of Kyrie Irving. Hayward is out for the season, but Boston`s third best player, Horford, is listed as probable after missing two games. Toronto has a full roster available.
In normal circumstances Boston would be a 5-6 point spread favorite here, but the uncertain status of Kyrie makes this a more evenly matched clash in the eyes of the bookies – especially as Horford hasn`t been 100% cleared to play either.
You would expect Kyrie to miss this game, as there`s no point in forcing him early in the season, and Boston also has a massive game against Golden State coming up in 5 days. However, Kyrie or no Kyrie, this has all the makings of a very difficult game for the hosts.
While the Celtics have won 11 straight, they actually looked increasingly vulnerable lately. They won the last three games by the skin of their teeth against poor and average opposition (Hawks by 3, Lakers by 11 and Hornets by 3 – the last two at home), blowing big leads, getting into big holes, clawing back and looking very inconsistent overall. It looks like they are tiring a bit, both physically and mentally. Even the 11 point win over the Lakers was much more difficult than the score suggests.
You get the feeling that they are due a loss against the next good opponent they face – and Toronto is one such opponent. A good, physical team like the Raptors seems like a very good opponent to stop Boston’s run, considering the way the Celtics have struggled in their last few games. The Raptors can be inconsistent themselves, but they will turn up for such a big game. They can be very good defensively when they want, and could frustrate a Celtics team which isn`t shooting very well lately.
If Irving doesn`t play, odds on the Raptors will plummet and they should really win the game, as they would become the better team by a mile. If Kyrie does play, Boston becomes the clear favorite, but I would still back the Raptors for an upset – however, we would lose a lot of value, as odds on Toronto will rise.
All in all, my tip is Toronto to win. I`m taking this bet early as I don`t expect Kyrie to play, and even if I`m wrong (which is definitely possible), I`d still trust Toronto to pull it off.
Most bookies are yet to put up odds due to the uncertainty of Kyrie and Horford, but they should list their prices soon – official news will come out close to game time, and they can`t hold out their odds that long. Prediction: Boston Celtics – Toronto Raptors 95 – 102.