NBA – Celtics supported for overdue success

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NBA analyst Gabe Seatter (@HoopCheck) looks at the best betting options from Friday night's crunch clash in Toronto.

Boston Celtics @ Toronto Raptors | Saturday 20th October 2018, 01:00 | Sky Sports

So after an interesting opening few days to the new season, a real mouthwatering match-up has finally arrived. The Boston Celtics head north of the border to Toronto, a notoriously tough place to travel to, for a fixture against the Raptors.

The Raptors have pretty much had the Celtics in their back pocket at the Scotiabank Arena for several seasons. Since 2014, Boston have managed to secure just one win from 10 visits, and even that was by a singular point in overtime back in 2015.

However, both teams have had some significant changes in the last few seasons, making a lot of these results obsolete.

The Celtics have arguably at least three All-Stars on their roster, two of whom they reached the Eastern finals, and an elite coach in Brad Stephens with a deep, deep bench.

The Raptors, on the other hand, may have added Kawhi Leonard but it came at a pretty hefty price with the departure of DeMar DeRozan.

Leonard will definitely need to readjust to high intensity matches such as this. He did manage to record decent numbers opening night, against a Cavaliers team but the less said about them the better. Kyle Lowry is a three-point machine when he feels like it, but a defence as good as this should hold him in check, like it did to JJ Reddick on opening night.

The opening night for the Celtics was pretty successful too; it was a close and a nervy first half. Kyrie Irving, top scorer for the C’s, went zero for eight attempts on his return from knee surgery and Boston still went to the locker room with a five-point lead.

In the second half, with both teams settling down, things were a lot more organised – Irving still only managed to record two made baskets, but this didn’t stop the young Celtics finishing the match with a ridiculous 18-point advantage against a Philadelphia team that are second Eastern Conference favourites, behind Boston.

The betting angles

Where does all this analysis lead me? To believe that the Celtics are finally ready to head up to Toronto and secure a comfortable win, to take advantage of Kawhi’s match fitness, and to run Lowry off the three-point line with a healthy defensive roster.

I expect Irving to do a lot better than two for 14, and this could simply be the difference on its own with the help of second year prodigy Jayson Tatum who was joint-top scorer in their curtain-raising contest (23).

Best Bets

Boston Celtics @ Toronto Raptors – Boston Celtics to win (27/20 William Hill)

Boston Celtics @ Toronto Raptors – Under 202 Points (11/8 SkyBet)

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