top of page
  • Writer's picture@WizeOwlSports

2020 NBA Playoffs: Celtics @ Raptors, Game 7

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

Sticking with history: Backing Boston and UNDER @ Toronto

Per the following graphic, esteemed statistician, Nate Silver's outfit has the Celtics as almost twice as likely as the Raptors to win tonight. In fact, FiveThirtyEight makes Boston slight favorites to represent the East in the NBA Finals this year. The Celtics are still a (likely) hard fought five wins away from this latter feat, but we agree that Boston will probably dispatch the defending champs this evening and earn the right to face a rested Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.

Supporting our thinking about tonight's SU outcome, our computer simulation routines not only call for the road win/cover as the most likely result of the evening's action, but also highlight the non-trivial potential that the Celtics win emphatically.

Contextually, Jimmy Boyd has observed that since 2003 home teams have enjoyed a meaningful advantage versus the number in game 7's (30-20 ATS, 60%). Granted, this post-season's bubble environment effectively kills the idea of any meaningful home court advantage, however, there is significant overlap between 'home court' and 'favorites' (home teams have typically been favored by roughly six points). As such, we regard this finding as supportive for our ATS position.

More directly though, Boyd also observed that teams off a loss heading into a game 7 are 18-13 ATS.

Additionally, has observed that, through May 2011, the winner of overtime NBA playoff games have gone a lowly 60-98 SU in the next game (in the same series).

Moving on, our computer simulation work also favors the UNDER tonight. Consistent with this forecast, the UNDER has proven a strong play in the seventh games of NBA playoff series. In addition to recently noting the significantly profitable long-term record for the UNDER, writers for The Action Network also observed that that the last seven game 7's have delivered paydays for those willing to bet on disappointingly low scores.

We theorize that the increased visibility and the swirl of energy that often attends playoff game 7's feeds the casual betting public's innate optimism, resulting in inflated betting totals (research has demonstrated a tendency for bettors to disproportionately gravitate toward favorites and OVERs, even when it is irrational to do so).

We noted ahead of game 6 the Celtics' and Raptors' particular penchants for reduced scoring in these playoffs. At that point the UNDER was 5-0 in the series, despite bookmakers taking a hatchet to the the betting total in each successive game after 2. The closing O/U plummeted nearly 10 points over the course of the series, however the score at the end of regulation Wednesday still ended 13 points below the line...a pair of overtimes however ultimately marred the then perfect record for the UNDER. Overtimes occur in only about 6% of NBA contests though, so we do not expect lightning to strike twice.

Toronto delivered its best offensive performance of the series in game 6, by points per 100 possessions...and the Raptors won by a single bucket, after two OTs.

Similarly, Kyle Lowry definitively exercised any playoff demons lingering from the seasons preceding last year's championship run. Per analysis from Cleaning the Glass, Lowry was absolutely out of his body, ranking in the 100th percentile among games played this year by players at similar positions in points per shot attempted, assists/assist percentage and block percentage...and the Raptors won by a single bucket, after two OTs.

Norman Powell too chipped in his best game of the series for Toronto, likewise, ranking in the 100th percentile for points scored per attempt, and int he 83rd percentile for steal percentage......and the Raptors won by a single bucket, after two OTs.

(Fred Van Fleet played to his potential, delivering a solid offensive contribution and excellent facilitation and defensive, and Siakim looked like a shadow of his all-star self, as has become common in this series.)

On the other side of the ball, Kemba Walker produced less than half a point per shot attempt in game 6. Jaylen Brown's offense too has room for improvement tonight. We expect both key players to step up for the Celtics, offsetting any negative reversion Tatum experiences.

Contrarily, we deem it unlikely that Toronto can sustain the level of offense on display Wednesday. Accordingly, we are backing the Boston Celtics ML -130 (but we are OK with the Celtics ATS up to -3). Additionally, we like UNDER 204 in this final match-up between the best two defenses in the playoffs. Our totals play is supported by indications from our computer simulation work as well as by the tendency for casual bettors to succumb to good-cheer induced optimism and drive the total higher.

Happy betting!!


bottom of page