The 2018/19 NBA season is well and truly underway and the Toronto Raptors have started the campaign like a house on fire. On current form, Nick Nurse’s side are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference this year.
Toronto are currently leading the way at the top of the Conference standings whilst Boston are back in fourth – although there is little to separate the two teams at this early stage. This will give an early indication as to just how dominant the Raptors are.
Nurse’s men have a 12-3 record heading into this contest and Canadian punters will fancy the Raptors to continue their solid run of form. Backing Boston here would be unwise given Toronto’s fast start to the campaign, the Celtics will be underdogs ahead of this clash.
Furthermore, the Raptors have had the upper hand in this fixture in recent years. Boston have won just four of the last 13 meetings between the two teams and that bodes well for Toronto here. Write the Raptors off at your peril…
Raptors Have Hit The Ground Running
Currently sitting pretty in the number one seed in the East, winning the Atlantic Division will be Toronto’s initial priority. From there, the Raptors could go on to bigger and better things – they certainly have the talent to lay down a serious challenge.
Kawhi Leonard has settled quickly to life at Scotiabank Arena, averaging career-high figures in a range of categories. His points per game average of 24.2 is almost eight points higher than his career median.
Punters should expect Leonard to continue his fine form this weekend. Watch this space, the Raptors will be very difficult to beat if the 2014 NBA Finals MVP is at his brilliant best.
Toronto have won the Atlantic Division in four of the last five years and bookmakers have the Raptors as red-hot favourites (8/15) to retain their crown. You won’t find too many punters backing against Toronto based on their efforts during the early stages of 2018/19.
Did Boston Come Out Second Best In Leonard Trade?
It was always going to take time for the Celtics to adjust to life without Isaiah Thomas. Kyrie Irving has been solid enough since moving to Boston but his numbers have been slightly down in comparison to the rest of his professional career.
The Celtics will need to rely on teamwork and organisation to stand any chance of pipping Toronto to the divisional crown this year – many believe that the Raptors have it in the bag already.
Boston are out at 7/2 to claim a shock scalp in the Atlantic Division; and a Celtics triumph would certainly shake up the Eastern Conference. The NBA landscape is now dominated by the Western Conference but the fight for supremacy in the East could take control in the coming months.
The Raptors are primed to take control of the East with a dominant victory here. Toronto have already recorded one win over Boston this year and a second successive triumph will go some way to silencing the doubters.
Kawhi Leonard will be central to Toronto’s chances of success, both in this clash and over the course of 2018/19. The Raptors star could be set for a huge game this weekend – expect Leonard to take centre stage at TD Garden.
One of the early contenders for the regular season MVP award, Leonard can lead Toronto to a victory over one of their main rivals. A win for the Raptors will be very sweet indeed for Canadian fans expecting Nurse’s side to represent the East in the NBA Finals next year.
TIP: Toronto Raptors to win
CORRECT SCORE: Boston Celtics 92-101 Toronto Raptors