Boston Celtics can tie the Toronto Raptors for the second place in the Eastern Conference with a win in Canada, as these two teams will likely fight for that position throughout this season.
The Raptors (24-13, 12-6 home) haven`t playing great lately, losing 3 of their last 4 games and 5 of the last 7. However, it has to be said that Toronto had a very difficult schedule, playing 5 of the last 7 games on the road and meeting only playoff teams, with 2 exceptions. Toronto is on the back of a 7 point loss against the excellent Rockets, at home, on Sunday.
Boston (23-14, 12-8 away) had a mediocre start to the season but have stepped it up lately, rising to the 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, where they were always expected to finish. Boston can go one step further today and tie Toronto for the second place with a win, so they will definitely try to achieve that. Boston won 6 of their last 7 games, including the last 4 – however, as a complete opposite to Toronto, they had a very easy schedule, playing 5 times at home and meeting just 3 playoff bound teams.Bet on TOR Raptors vs. BOS Celtics and claim your 150% welcome freebet at 18Bet!
Team news: The big news ahead of this match is that Boston will miss Avery Bradley, a huge piece of their team, especially due to his defense. When Bradley is out, Boston suffers and that was also obvious last year during the playoffs. Zeller and Young will also be out for Boston. As for Toronto, they have a healthy roster and just got back Patrick Patterson as well.
You have to feel that Bradley’s absence will be a game changer here, especially since he would have been absolutely key in defending the lethal Toronto backcourt duo of Lowry & DeRozan. These two, particularly DeRozan, will have an easier job of dominating with Bradley out.
What`s more, fact is that the Celtics are a bit overrated right now after their streak of wins. They are playing well and winning is always good, but Toronto away will be a much tougher task than anything they had lately (except for the Cleveland loss). The Celtics didn`t meet many quality opponents recently and neither of their last 6 wins, even against the likes of the Sixers at home, came by more than 11 points.
Raptors beat Celtics by 7 points in Boston exactly one month ago and they have matched up well against them recently. Playing at home and with Boston missing Bradley (plus the less important Zeller and Young), I believe Toronto will be able to win this game, despite struggling a bit in the last couple of weeks. Fact is that Toronto continues to be the 2nd best team in the East after Cleveland.
My tip is Toronto to cover the 4 point spread handicap. Odds are dropping on this bet. Prediction: Toronto Raptors – Boston Celtics 110 – 102.