UPDATE: Jan. 6, 6:19 p.m. — Smart will return to the lineup while Teague has been ruled out against Wednesday vs. the Heat.
UPDATE: Jan. 5, 5:11 p.m. — Smart and Teague are both being listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game vs. the Miami Heat. Both players missed Monday’s game vs. the Raptors, which ended in a lopsided win for Boston. The Celtics started Tremont Waters in place of Smart. He wasn’t the guard who stepped up though. Rookie Payton Pritchard scored 23 points with 8 assists in the win. If Smart and/or Teague is sidelined again, Pritchard is the player to target for value.
UPDATE: Jan. 4, 5:55 p.m. — Smart has been ruled out for Monday’s game vs. the Raptors. So the Celtics won’t have much depth at guard outside of Brown, Tatum and Pritchard. We should just see a rotation that is tight and features more size, since that’s something the Raps have had issues with this season.
Boston Celtics G Marcus Smart is questionable to play in Monday’s game vs. the Toronto Raptors due to a thumb injury. Jeff Teague, Javonte Green, Romeo Langford and Kemba Walker are all out. So the Celtics could have a very thin back court for an Atlantic Division clash against the Raptors to start off the first week of 2021.
Jeff Teague, Romeo Langford, Javonte Green and Kemba Walker are out tonight for Boston in Tampa against Toronto. Marcus Smart is questionable with a thumb sprain.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 4, 2021
If Smart is ruled out, the Celtics will most likely start rookie guard Payton Pritchard next to Jaylen Brown in the back court. This would actually make Boston’s lineup a bit more traditional with Jayson Tatum playing SF and Brown at SG. Pritchard ($3,700) has been decent for the Celtics this season, averaging 6.6 points and 2.4 assists over 21.5 minutes per game. He makes for a strong value option on DraftKings.
The Raptors are favored by 4.5 points right now on DraftKings Sportsbook. If Smart ends up being ruled out later, that could swing the line a point or two in favor of Toronto. As long as Brown and Tatum are healthy, the Celtics will have a shot at winning. The Raptors have had a slow start to the season at 1-4. Playing in Tampa rather than up in Toronto has clearly impacted the team a bit. So I wouldn’t bet on either side right now. If Smart gets ruled out later and the Celtics get another point or two, that may be advantageous.