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After Evening Series, Raptors Favored Again in Series Odds vs Celtics

Cole Shelton

by Cole Shelton in NBA Basketball

Sep 6, 2020 · 9:00 AM PDT

Pascal Siakam in warmus holding a basketball
Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors try to bounce back Friday in a rematch with the Miami Heat. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)
  • The Toronto Raptors have won two straight against the Boston Celtics to even their series 2-2
  • A crucial Game 5 goes down on Monday at 6:30pm ET
  • Will the Celtics get out of their shooting slump? Read below for our betting prediction

After looking down and out, the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors have tied the series against the Boston Celtics.

Heading into the series, the Raptors were -143 favorites at DraftKings but became +138 underdogs after their blowout game one loss.  Now, following Toronto winning back-to-back games and their shots starting to fall while the Celtics’ aren’t, the oddsmakers once again have the defending champions as the favorites to win the series.

Toronto Raptors vs Boston Celtics Series Odds

Team Odds at FanDuel
Toronto Raptors -128
Boston Celtics +104

*All odds as of Sept. 6

Toronto’s Finding Their Groove From 3

After the first two games of the series, the biggest concern surrounding the Raptors was their three-point shooting. In the first game, the Raptors just shot 25% from beyond the arc and 36.9% from the field. They followed that up in Game 2 with the team shooting 27.5% from three.

In the games since, Toronto has shoot the ball well. In basically a must-win Game 3 they shot 32.5% from three and 47% from the field. When the Raptors are shooting and passing the ball well, they tend to find success, they also have been getting to the free-throw line which has been a difference-maker.

Will The Raptors Ride The Momentum?

Basketball, like most sports, is a game of momentum and the Toronto Raptors have it.

When OG Anunoby hit the buzzer-beater shot in Game 3 to make the series 2-1 instead of 3-0, Toronto gained a massive dose of momentum and confidence.

They have since built off that, with Kyle Lowry leading the Raptors on the offensive and defensive end. He and Fred VanVleet have logged massive minutes since going down 0-2, each averaging 45 minutes a contest.

While their bench has been effective all season, Nick Nurse has shortened his rotation significantly, choosing to ride his best players. He has used an 8-man lineup in Games 3 and 4, with Serge Ibaka, Norm Powell and Matt Thomas the only reserves seeing playing. Ibaka and Powell have played well in limited minutes.

For Boston, Jaylen Brown’s shooting has gone cold, compared to the first two games of the series when it seemed like everything he put up was going in. His confidence in his shot has to be a concern as he shot just 18.2% from three in Game 4 after shooting 33.3% and 37.5% in the first two games.

Right now, the confidence and momentum are in the Raptors’ favor, but Game 5 is a massive one that can easily flip the series.

Will Boston Snap Out Of Their Shooting Slump?

The Celtics are a better shooting team than they’ve showed in Games 3 and 4, but their lights-out shooting in Games 1 and 2 were also unsustainable. They need to find a happy medium.

Despite their struggles early in this series, Toronto has always been a solid defensive team. In the regular season, they had a defensive rating of 104.7, which was the second-best mark in the NBA. They’ve found their groove in Round 2, particularly in their two wins, holding Boston to under 100 points per game, limiting them to 25% shooting from beyond the arc on 32 attempts a game.

While the defense has been consistent throughout the series, Boston was nailing shots that you can’t expect them to hit consistently. In the first two games of the series, Boston was shooting 41.6% from distance, propelling them to two wins.

I expect the Celtics to start shooting better but that might not be enough. Toronto has been much better defensively and the shots are starting to fall. I expect the Raptors to win this series in seven games.

Pick: Toronto Raptors (-128)

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