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Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics Betting Pick

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Down 2-0 in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors are staring down the gun barrel at a death-rattle-inducing 3-0 deficit at the hands of the Boston Celtics.

Can The North triumph over the Green Machine from Boston? We will see tonight, Thursday, September 3rd at 6:30 PM ET.

Here's why you shouldn't overthink the series and bet on a decisive thrashing to continue.

AMERICA’S BOOKIE WEEKLY FOOTBALL SQUARES CONTEST IS BACK


Kawhi, oh Kawhi
The loss of Kawhi Leonard couldn't be more of a gaping hole in the Toronto Raptors offense. While the Raptors don't have the easiest road to the Finals by any means, their ability to rely on Leonard to provide timely scoring when they needed it is no longer an option.

Last season, Leonard's brilliance on both ends of the court gave the Raptors the confidence to dump the ball to him in waning possessions, and in some instances, help them crawl back from the dead, particularly in their series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Plain and simple: The Raptors do not have a dependable scoring option, but beyond that, they also had a stalwart on the defensive end. I think you’re starting to see where this NBA free pick is going.

Now, the Raptors are really left with a squad that lacks a true dominant scorer. The closest they have is Kyle Lowry, but while Lowry is a great player, he is, at best, a very high-level sidekick.

Forcing him and Fred VanVleet to man the backcourt against a Celtics team that is far too well-coached and far too big (except at the point) to stop their scoring onslaught is just asking to get outmatched, and so far, that's been the result.

Without a true killer on the Raptors to take over games, one could argue the Celtics aren't fearful of any particular player on their team. While the Raptors aren't dead yet, this is going to be a series that is deceptively close on paper while not being that close at all.

Did you see our last pick
for the Lakers vs. Trail Blazers Game 4? We crushed the point spread!

A Team Effort
While the Celtics don't necessarily have a superstar, as a squad, their ability to shoot, pass, and defend is uniquely balanced across all five positions. When you factor in the brilliant coaching of Brad Stevens, their sets are remarkably fluid and dynamic.

When they need superstar-like plays, they have brilliant isolation players like Kemba Walker to get buckets when they need them.

Two games a series does not make, but as shown by the first two contests, there is no doubt that the Boston Celtics will continue to pour on the points as they've shown. Frankly, the Raptors have shown no signs of being able to stop them.

While an 18-point rout in Game 1 was narrowed to just a three-point loss in Game 2, losing is losing for bettors, and if you're looking for a winner in Game 3, here it is.

Sides are a Toss-Up, But Totals Aren't
So far in the series, totals have gone under, but both teams play fast enough. They both have the shooters to eventually have a real back-and-forth contest on the scoreboard.

The Raptors are a one-point favorite at top sportsbooks for Game 3, while the total is hung at 217. But we like to see the defending champs play a closer contest and shoot better against a desperate Celtics team trying to put a decisive whooping on them.

We like a 120-113 Celtics victory, but play it safe and bet the over 217 points.
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