Game 1 between the Celtics and Raptors will mark the beginning of the second round of the NBA Playoffs. Both the Celtics and Raptors swept their opening- round opponents, which allowed their series to get started before any others. The teams boycotted Game 1 Thursday in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha (WI) Aug. 23. The Milwaukee Bucks were the first team to decide to boycott Game 5 against the Orlando Magic Aug. 26.
Tip-off of Game 1 is now scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. PM ET, coverage on ESPN. As play continues inside the bubble, the entirety of the best-of-seven game series will take place in Orlando (FL) at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. With no real home-court advantage, the only difference is the logo they put on the court for the ‘home’ team each game. Check out more NBA stories on our NBA Locker Room page.
You can check out our NBA series prices tab on our sportsbook to place a bet on who will win the series before it gets going. So far in the Celtics vs Raptors Playoff Betting, the Raptors are slight favorites in the series with -135 odds to win. The Celtics have +115 odds to win the second-round series and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
321 Boston Celtics +115
322 Toronto Raptors -135
Best of seven. Round 2.
Game 1: Thursday Aug. 27: Celtics at Raptors – 6:30 PM ET – ESPN
Game 2: Saturday Aug. 29: Celtics at Raptors – 4:00 PM ET – TNT
Game 3: Monday Aug. 31: Raptors at Celtics – TBD – TBD
Game 4: Wednesday Sept. 2: Raptors at Celtics – TBD – TBD
Game 5*: Friday Sept. 4: Celtics at Raptors – TBD – TBD
Game 6*: Sunday Sept. 6: Raptors at Celtics – TBD – TBD
Game 7*: Tuesday Sept. 8: Celtics at Raptors – TBD – TBD
The 2019-20 season saw the Celtics and Raptors play four times during the irregular, regular season. Boston won three out of the four games.
Celtics won, 122-100, Aug. 7 in Orlando
Boston won the last time they played against Toronto to hand the Raptors their only loss in the bubbler. Boston was getting 1.5 points that had an over/under set at 222.5. Both teams, expecting to see each other in the playoffs, tried to play it off like the game was no big deal in the after-game press conferences. The Celtics led by as many as 40 points in the contest.
Raptors won, 113-97, Dec. 28 in Boston
Kyle Lowry had 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting to help lead the Raptors past the Celtics. Toronto was seven-point underdogs in the game that had an over/under set at 217. Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell and, Marc Gasol all missed the game for the Raptors.
Celtics won, 118-102, Dec. 25 in Toronto
Jaylen Brown scored 30 points on 10-on-13 shooting. Kemba Walker added 22 to help the Celtics beat the Raptors on Christmas Day. Fred VanVleet led Toronto with 27 points on 11-of-21. The Celtics were four-point underdogs and the over/under was set at 214.
Celtics won, 112-106, Oct. 25 in Boston
It was the first game the two teams played this season. It is the only game in which the home team would win in their four-game series. Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum both had 25 points to lead the Celtics past the Raptors in a close game. Boston was favored by 2.5 points and the over/under was set at 213.5.
Playoff Betting: Inside the Bubble
The second-seed Raptors came into the Orlando bubble ready to play. Winning seven out of the eight seeding games. Toronto’s record trailed only the 8-0 Suns for the best record since the restart. The defending NBA champs have been out to show the league that, even without Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, they are still one of the best teams in the East. They clinched the No.2 seed with three remaining seeding games. This has allowed them to rest some key players before the start of the playoffs. Coach Nick Nurse has his Raptors playing cohesive team defense which has been one of the most exciting things to watch in Orlando.
The Raptors swept the seventh-seeded Brooklyn Nets in the first round. With a balanced scoring attack, great defense, and unmatchable depth the Raptors looked like the defending champs. They blew out the Nets in three of the four contests. Game 2 was the only game the Nets were in it late. The Raptors finished the series with six players averaging more than 10 points in the series. VanVleet (21.3) and Siakam (20.8) both averaged more than 20 points. The Raptors’ bench scored 100 points in Game 4. The most by any bench, playoffs or regular season, since starters began being tracked in 1970-71.
Then Celtics finished their eight seeding games with a 5-3 record. They were locked into the No.3 seed with four games remaining. Amidst their four-game winning streak, Boston posted its most impressive restart win over the No. 2 Raptors. When the Celtics beat the Raptors 122-100 the No .2 seed in the East was still a slight possibility for the Celtics.
Boston swept Philadelphia in the first round to put an end to the 76ers “Process.” The Celtics averaged 112.3 points in the four games with an effective field goal percentage of .523. They held the 76ers to an average of 100.5 points per game and an eFG% of .443 (eFG% is a statistic that adjusts field-goal percentage to account for the fact that 3-point field goals count for three points while field goals only count for two points). Boston leaned heavily on its “Big 3.” Tatum (27.0), Walker (24.3), and Brown (21.5) all averaged more than 20 points in the series. Philly kept three of the four games close, losing by a single-digit margin.
Toronto’s 104.7 defense rating ranks second in the league during the regular season. The Raptors ranked first in the same category in the past eight games. The Raptors keep teams out of the paint and try to force opposing teams to shoot long 2s and 3s with long defenders quickly closing out late in the shot clock. They apparently do this very effectively ranking second in opponents points in the paint and first in opponents 3-point percentage.
The Raptors look to be the deepest team in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. PF Serge Ibaka who is averaging 19.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in the playoffs leads the Raptors “Bench Mob.” SG Powell who is averaging 17.5 points is also a key. They are going to need their bench to continue its dominance especially if their All-Star PG Lowry misses some games.
The veteran PG left Game 4 against the Nets with a left ankle injury and is listed as day-to-day for Game 1 of the second round. Lowry has averaged 12.5 points/game in the playoffs thus far, and 21.0 points/game against Boston during the regular season. Lowry is considered one of the Raptors’ leaders on and off the court and would greatly be missed.
The Celtics are leaning on a Big 3 more than any team in the playoffs right now. Tatum, Walker and Brown are averaging a combined 72.8 of the Celtics 112.3 points per game so far. That is 64.8% of the Celtics offense.
The Celtics’ other star player SF Gordon Hayward has left the NBA campus and is expected to miss the entire second-round series. Hayward suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain in Game 1 against the 76ers. He decided to leave the bubble to be with his wife who is expecting their fourth child in early September. Hayward posted averages of 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists over the 52 regular-season games.
3-Point Shooting and Points in the Paint
Boston averaged .350 from behind the arc in their opening series. The Celtics were 49-of-140 from “3.” The Celtics averaged a percentage .371 in their three regular-season wins against the Raptors. In their only loss to the Raptors this year the Celtics shot a .219 3-point percentage.
The Raptors are one of the best teams at limiting opposing offenses in points in the paints. Boston likes to get to the rim and put pressure on the interior of opposing defenses. Boston averaged more than 50 points in the paint in their three regular-season victories over the Raptors. In their lone loss, the Celtics only scored 46 points in the paint.
NBA Championship Odds
The Toronto Raptors had preseason championship odds set at +5500. Toronto came into the playoffs with +800 to win the NBA Finals. Check the current odds on our NBA Championship odds page.
Boston started the preseason with the ninth-best odds to win the NBA Finals at +2900. They entered the playoffs sitting at +1300.
To Win Series Odds
The Raptors are receiving slightly better odds to win this series. The depth of the Raptors seems to be the biggest difference between the teams. You can check these updated odds and place your bet on our NBA series prices page.
- Toronto Raptors: -135
- Boston Celtics: +115
Prediction: Raptors in 7
It will be interesting to see how boycotting affects the rest of the playoffs. The Raptors seem to be the better team in this series, especially with Lowry healthy. Opposing teams cannot focus on stopping one, two, or even three players and expect to win. They have to defend whoever is on the floor for the entire 48 minutes of the game. Siakam has taken the next step towards becoming a superstar. He is as dangerous a two-way player as you can find. 2019-20 Coach of the Year award winner, Nick Nurse has his team playing a high level of basketball at the right time. We will see if Boston can take the next step and knock off the defending champs.