Will the Celtics take a 2-0 lead? Photo by @ESPNStatsInfo
- The Boston Celtics took a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinals series with the Toronto Raptors on Sunday
- Kyle Lowry was fit to play despite suffering an ankle injury in the first round; the rest of the Raps disappointed
- Get the latest odds, betting discussion and a pick ahead of Game 2 below
Everything went right for the Boston Celtics in Game 1. They have won all five of their playoff games so far, and confidence continues to build despite the absence of Gordon Hayward. The Raptors will hope to write off the opening game as an off-night.
With the win, Boston also became favored to win the series vs Toronto.
The two and three seeds in the East have looked destined to matchup in the second round all season long. They are two talented, well-coached teams, but who have both been underrated at times this season with the attention on the Milwaukee Bucks. The pressure is on Toronto to tie this series up on Tuesday after their traditional Game 1 loss.
The latest Boston Celtics vs Toronto Raptors odds favor the Raps by 1.5 points – the total is the same as it was for the series opener.
Boston Celtics vs Toronto Raptors Game 2 Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline Odds at FanDuel||Total|
|Boston Celtics||+1.5 (-110)||+100||O 216 (-110)|
|Toronto Raptors||-1.5 (-110)||-118||U 216 (-110)|
Odds taken August 31.
Hot Shooting From Boston
The Raptors, like the Bucks, give up a lot of three-point attempts. They like to let the weaker shooters take their shots and make a strong effort on closeouts. Against this small Boston lineup, that’s a difficult strategy to pull off. The Celtics are loaded with shooting across the floor, and they took full advantage of what Toronto gave them on Sunday.
Just under half of Boston’s shots came from beyond the arc, and they shot a whopping 47% as a team.
What was crucial, however, was where those threes came from. Nearly a fifth of the Celtics’ shots were corner threes – they’re the shots offenses are always working for. They managed to penetrate the defense, hitting the man in the corner when they drew the help. With their shooting on the floor, they are going to knockdown plenty of corner three-point attempts. They hit 67% of such shots on Sunday.
Some of this could be attributed to a hot shooting night, but it’s not ideal for the Raps to be giving up so many shots from the corners.
On ESPN, Paul Pierce just ranked the best players in the Celtics-Raptors series:
1. Jayson Tatum
2. Jaylen Brown
3. Pascal Siakam
4. Kemba Walker
— Boston.com Celtics News (@BDCCeltics) August 30, 2020
Boston rarely got to the rim, however, which is a major positive for Nick Nurse. There won’t be major changes to the defense – they will rely on the Celtics missing more shots.
2020 NBA Championship Odds Tracker
Stifling Halfcourt Defense
The Raps love to run in transition. They were unable to do so as frequently as they would like in Game 1. Boston’s defense limited the Raptors’ halfcourt game, keeping them to 73.8 points per 100 possessions in halfcourt situations.
The lack of a go-to scorer has been the main concern with Toronto as a postseason team. Pascal Siakam might not be quite ready for that role, and it left the Raps often short of ideas on the offensive end.
Boston outscored Toronto be 32-20 on unassisted points, the ability for players to create their own offense is huge in the playoffs, and Boston got notably more of that than Toronto did.
Tatum’s game is too smooth.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 30, 2020
The Raptors’ defense has set up their offense this year, letting them launch fast breaks. With Boston hitting so many shots, transition opportunities were limited, and it made it difficult to get good looks.
Under the Best Bet
The total points ‘under’ has hit in six of Boston’s last seven and three of Toronto’s last four. These are two elite defensive teams, led by two great coaches who will make significant in-game and mid-series adjustments.
Boston are unlikely to shoot the ball as well as they did at the weekend, and the Raptors will be more effective with more transition opportunities.
It’s a hard game to call – the points total looks like the best bet.
Pick: Under 216 total points (-110)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.