Game 1 Predictions & Odds: Celtics vs. Raptors

  • August 28, 2020
  • By Michael Crosson

The Celtics and Raptors will be the first teams to kick off a second-round playoff series. The pair was supposed to meet on Thursday evening in the NBA Bubble but Game 1 will now take place in the Sunday afternoon matinee spot at 1:00 p.m. ET from Orlando, Florida.

Make a note that both teams will enter this game with six full days of rest as both clubs haven't played since winning their first round series on Sunday August 23.

Toronto was expected to dominate Brooklyn heading into the postseason, but they weren’t expected to do it how they did. The Raptors scored an impressive average of 126+ points per game in its four playoff victories against Brooklyn, and there is no doubt they are a vital title-threat if Fred Van Fleet and the crew plan to continue scoring the way they did in round one.

Joel Embiid and the Sixers were expected to at least make Boston sweat a little bit in the opening round, even with the absence of Ben SImmons, but Jayson Tatum’s supporting cast was proven to be drastically superior to Joel’s young squad of role players, winning by an average margin of 11.75 points in a four-game beatdown of their division rival, resulting in firing of Brett Brown.

Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Eastern Conference Game 1
  • Expert Picks: Vegas Insiders
  • Venue: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • Location: Orlando, Florida
  • Date: Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020
  • Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN
  • Bet: BetMGM | BetRivers | FanDuel | PointsBet | All

The Boston Celtics are listed as slight underdogs to the Toronto Raptors in both Game 1 and the best-of-seven series. (AP)

Betting Odds - Celtics vs. Raptors

Line Movements

The higher-seeded Toronto Raptors head into Game 1 of their second round series as two-point favorites against Brad Stevens and his Boston Celtics, despite boasting a losing record against Boston in the regular season.

‘Unders’ have been golden for two of the best defensive teams in the league to start the playoffs, as Celtics/Raptors games have stayed under the total in five out of eight bubble playoff contests to date. The total ‘over-under’ for this contest is holding strong at 216 points.

The oddsmakers are projecting this series to be a tight one, as Boston enters Game 1 as a slim +125 underdog to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals ahead of the Raptors (-150).

Celtics vs. Raptors
How to Handicap Game 1

(SU-Straight Up, ATS - Against the Spread, OU - Over-Under)

Celtics Betting Outlook

Inside the Stats

  • Bubble: 9-3 SU, 6-5-1 ATS, 5-6-1 O/U
  • Playoffs: 4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS, 1-3 O/U

The Celtics are another team that looks like they are just now starting to put it all together, as we saw Kemba Walker looking like his old self, hanging 32 points on the Sixers in their Game 4 win to close out the final game of Boston’s first round series.

All the talk leading up to this series is surrounding the strength of Toronto’s defense, but let’s not forget about Boston’s deep defensive unit. The Celtics rank 4th in the NBA in defensive rating (106.5), trailing the second ranked Raptors by just a thin margin (104.7).


Boston held an always explosive Philadelphia team under 102 points in three out of four contests in the first-round of the playoffs while scoring an average of 112 points per game.

I expect them to put out an even better defensive effort against Toronto in this series, as they will likely need one to compete with the defending champs.

Raptors Betting Outlook

Inside the Stats

  • Bubble: 11-1 SU, 9-3 ATS, 4-7-1 O/U
  • Playoffs: 4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS, 3-1 O/U

Toronto is notorious for being one of the best teams in the NBA on the defensive side of the ball, but in its series with the Nets, Nick Nurse’s team got it done with overpowering offense, tallying 115+ points in three out of their last four contests.

It seems like the Raptors are just now beginning to hit their stride offensively after exploding for 150 points in their most recent contest, making that 3-1 ATS in the last four games.

Toronto is not a team to be reckoned with in the East and they have a chance to put the East on hold with a statement win in Game 1.

Celtics vs. Raptors Head-to-Head

2019-20 Regular Season

  • Aug. 8, 2020: Boston (+1.5) 122 vs. Toronto, Push 222
  • Dec. 28, 2019: Toronto (+7) 113 at Boston 97, Under 217
  • Dec. 25, 2019: Boston (+4) 118 at Toronto 102, Over 214
  • Oct. 25, 2019: Boston (-2.5) 112 vs. Toronto, 106, Over 213.5

A highly anticipated playoff matchup kicks off this weekend in the bubble when the Raptors and Celtics square off for the fifth time this season.

Boston currently owns a 3-1 series lead, winning by an average margin of 14.7 points against Toronto on the year, but take that with a grain of salt as Pascal Siakam did not participate in two of those contests and the most previous matchup between these teams in the bubble was a meaningless one with key players on both sides not receiving typical minute loads.

This series is loaded with elite defensive talent at multiple positions on the floor, but that hasn’t necessarily been on display in the games between these teams so far this season, as they have combined for over 216 points in three out of their four matchups.

Try not to look too deep into the regular season H2H tallies between these two teams, as the recent results aren’t likely indicative of how this series will play out on the stat sheet.

Key Injuries


  • SG Javonte Green: Knee - Out
  • SF Gordon Hayward: Ankle - Out


  • SF Patrick McCaw: Knee - Out
  • SF Oshae Brissett: Knee - Out

Gordon Hayward will miss Boston’s second round series with the Raptors after exiting Game 1 against the Sixers with a grade-3 right ankle sprain, requiring him to leave the bubble on Friday for treatment.

Kyle Lowry headlines the key injury concerns for Toronto heading into the Game 1 affair as he is a game-time decision with an ankle issue. Coach Nick Nurse confirmed Lowry missed practice on Tuesday afternoon, but is “hopeful” his point-guard will be available. The extra time off should have him ready to go although he may not be at 100 percent.

Game 1 Best Bet Picks

I am still under the impression that these teams have not squared off in a playoff environment yet this season, and we are going to get a wildly more intense game out of these squads than we have seen from their previous meetings this year.

Boston cashed ‘under’ tickets in three out of its four matchups against a high-powered Philly team in round one. I’m backing these teams to stay under 216 points in this contest, as I think the Celtics will control the pace in this matchup and establish this series as a hard-fought defensive bout from the jump.

Score Prediction: Celtics 108 Raptors 104