- The Toronto Raptors are set for their first Christmas Day game since 2001
- They’re up against the Atlantic Division leading Boston Celtics
- Which team has been best against the spread this season?
After being frozen out of Christmas Day games for the better part of nearly two decades, the Toronto Raptors had to have been happy to finally host a contest when the schedule came out this year – but they’re hobbled with a mess of injuries to key players which will really put their depth to the test.
They’re facing the Atlantic leading Boston Celtics who are just a half game up on both Toronto and Philadelphia. In their first meeting this season, the Celts won by six points back in October and should they emerge victorious in both back-to-back meetings against the Raps (they play in Boston Saturday) they’ll post their first winning season against them since 2012-13.
The Boston Celtics vs Toronto Raptors odds have set the home team as 4.5-point underdogs to kick off the NBA’s Christmas day slate.
Boston Celtics vs Toronto Raptors Odds
|Boston Celtics||-175||-4.5 (-110)||Over 211.5 (-115)|
|Toronto Raptors||+155||+4.5 (-110)||Under 211.5 (-105)|
Odds taken December 24th.
Banged up Raptors Still Battling
The Toronto Raptors have been playing like they’re Rodney Dangerfield and fighting in the face of a lack of respect all season, given that they just won the title last year yet are largely forgotten.
Despite losing Kawhi Leonard in the offseason, the Dinos are a very respectable 21-9 and they’ve done that with a slew of injuries, including Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Norman Powell missing the last three games.
NBA Players of the Week for Week 9!
— NBA (@NBA) December 23, 2019
Kyle Lowry has been fantastic in the absence of three big contributors on the squad, winning Eastern Conference player of the week and leading Toronto to their largest comeback (30 points) in franchise history against the Mavericks on Sunday.
Playing the disrespect card seems to be suiting the Raptors quite well this season.
Kyle. Lowry. ?
His 20 points in the 4th QTR sparked the Raptors 30-point comeback, largest in franchise history. pic.twitter.com/w5pDzbgfYR
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 22, 2019
They have been playing a lot of hard minutes of late, losing to Indiana on Monday in overtime after being down by 10 at halftime, their first loss in the last six contests.
Celtics Rolling in Last Month
In the last 30 days, the Celtics have been playing inspired basketball, winning nine of their twelve games, with seven of those victories by at least nine points.
Two of the losses have come against Atlantic Division foes in Philadelphia and Brooklyn. They will have the services of center Enes Kanter, who previously had not been able to play outside of the United States.
Thanks to the Canadian government, @EnesKanter writes in the @globeandmail, the @Celtics big man/Erdogan critic will play his first overseas game in years in Toronto against the Raptors on Christmas Day, despite Turkey's Interpol Red Notice against him: https://t.co/ckLv5EE47N
— A Perspectivally Smaller Adrian Lee From 6 Ft Away (@AdrianKLee) December 23, 2019
Signs are pointing towards Boston bringing back a few key reinforcements from injury to play against Toronto with Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart expected to return to action as well.
Official updates to come tomorrow, but it looks like the Boston Celtics may be as healthy as they've been in some time on Christmas day, as they may get Gordon Hayward & Marcus Smart back.
Enes Kanter will also play, after the Canadian government took steps to ensue his safety.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) December 24, 2019
What’s the Best Bet?
Despite the injuries, the Raptors have still maintained a strong level of play, and they’re 13-3 on home court this season. The Celtics are an impressive 12-1 at home but are just 8-6 on the road. Toronto has been very evenly matched with Boston in recent years with the teams splitting their last ten overall meetings.
However, the Raps have won eight straight at home against Boston and 12 of their last 13 matchups at the Scotiabank Arena. Take the extra points on Toronto in their first Christmas Day affair in 18 years.
Pick: Toronto Raptors +4.5 (-110)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.