Welcome to the Friday, 10/19/18 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one game per night I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel good enough about to recommend. A “lean” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Season to Date:
ATS Picks: 1-1 (.500)
ATS Leans: 1-0 (1.000)
Friday Night’s NBA Betting Pick:
Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Raptors -3
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Raptors -3
888 Sportsbook Odds: Raptors -3
Over/Under Total: 207.0
The Celtics have been hailed in some circles as the only hope to dethrone the almighty Warriors this season. The majority of attention heaped on them is well deserved, considering how far Boston got last season with a short-handed squad, as well as the impressively deep roster they boast this season.
The Raptors could argue they got slightly better offensively with the swap of Demar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard. That transaction also netted them Danny Green. Their defense certainly takes a step up if Leonard remains healthy for the entire season. However, the rest of the cast that was once again booted unceremoniously from the postseason by a LeBron James-led team remains largely intact.
The Celtics made a statement in their regular-season opener by handling their business against a talented Sixers team and pulling away late. Boston was ultimately 17 points better than their division rival, outscoring them 58-45 in the second half. As expected given their deep bench, the Celts kept coming regardless of which rotation was in the game. They also made quite a defensive statement by keeping the Sixers under 90 points. That’s something the Raptors will have to be wary of after scoring under 100 points in three of four meetings with Boston last season.
The Raptors notched a double-digit victory in their own right to open their season. They defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers by a 116-104 margin Wednesday although the Cavs won the battle on the boards and at the free-throw line. The offense was dependent on Leonard and Kyle Lowry, who combined for 51 points against an overmatched Cleveland team. The going figures to be much tougher Friday, with Lowry likely to often do battle with the likes of Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown in the backcourt. Meanwhile, Leonard should see a good deal of Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris while Gordon Hayward continues on a minutes restriction in the mid-20s.
By the Numbers: The Celtics were an NBA-best 62-37-2 (62.6 percent) against the spread overall last season, including the playoffs. They were also 29-19 (60.4 percent) versus the number as a road team, including 13-11 (54.2 percent) as a road underdog. Boston was also 14-7 (66.7 percent) against the number in division games.
The Final Word: Leonard appears to be back to full health, and Lowry enjoyed an excellent start to the season. However, Boston notched two victories against Toronto last season without Hayward and with a still-developing Jayson Tatum. The Celtics have more than enough firepower to keep this game very close with an outright victory also possible. For this pick, I’ll stick to predicting a cover at a minimum in what should be another tough divisional battle between two of the East’s elite.
The Pick: Celtics +3