Raptors open road schedule as odds underdogs in Boston

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) attempts a lay-up against Washington Wizards centre Montrezl Harrell (6) during first half NBA action in Toronto Wednesday, October 20, 2021 (Evan Buhler/CP).

The Toronto Raptors will be looking to rebound from Wednesday night's 98-83 loss to the visiting Washington Wizards when they visit the Boston Celtics on Friday night as 8-point underdogs on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

A sellout crowd failed to spark the Raptors in their season-opening loss to Washington. That defeat extended last year's schedule-ending swoon for the team, and leaves Toronto with just one victory in 12 overall contests going into Friday night's matchup at TD Garden.

While Wednesday's loss did nothing to boost the Raptors' +250 odds of returning to the playoffs this season, it did provide fans with a positive glimpse of the future. The game marked the NBA debut of Scottie Barnes, and the 20-year-old did not disappoint. Selected fourth overall by Toronto in the 2021 NBA Draft, Barnes tallied a team-high 12 points and added nine rebounds against the Wizards.

Set as a +1200 wager on the NBA Rookie of the Year odds prior to the start of the season, Barnes is benefiting from the absence of Pascal Siakam, who remains sidelined while recovering from offseason surgery.

However, the Raptors will need a better overall offensive effort in Friday's date with the Celtics. In addition to their 2020 playoff series loss to Boston in seven games the team has also struggled in recent regular-season dates with the Celtics, dropping four straight by an average margin of 13.5 points per game. They have also claimed victory just once in their past nine regular-season visits to Boston, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

That is good news for the Celtics, who look to rebound in their home opener after tipping off their season with a 138-134 road loss to the New York Knicks. Boston returns to action aiming to snap out of a schedule-ending funk last season that forced them to settle for a seventh-place finish in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Celtics earned just four wins in their final 13 regular-season contests last year, a run that featured defeats in each of their final four home dates. The team carried over that swoon into the postseason, meekly bowing out to the Brooklyn Nets in just five games in the first round. However, those struggles have failed to shake the Celtics' position on the NBA season win totals at online betting sites, where they opened as a -130 bet to win OVER 46.5 games.

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