The second round of the NBA Playoffs, or at least part of it, is set to get underway Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. E.T. with the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors beginning their Eastern Conference semifinals series. The rest of the games on Sunday’s and even on Monday’s calendar involve teams still playing in the first round but the Celtics and Raptors are already well past that after both teams swept their first-round opponents.
NBA Free Live Bet
Get a Free Live Bet every day until Aug. 30. Any day you place $20-plus in NBA bets, get a $10 Free Live bet! Place your bets here at the DraftKings Sportsbook NBA page or by downloading the DK Sportsbook app.
There are plenty of potential storylines between these two rivals at the top of the Eastern Conference but the thing that jumps out especially for Game 1 is that there are significant injury concerns on both sides. Starting with the Celtics, Gordon Hayward is out for Game 1, and almost certainly for the entire second round, after sustaining an ankle injury back in the Celtics’ first game against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics fared just fine without Hayward in the first round but Boston was facing a 76ers team that was also missing Ben Simmons and the Raptors figure to be a much tougher test coming up.
On the Raptors side, there was some concern that Kyle Lowry would miss Game 1 after he also hurt his ankle, with his injury coming in Game 4 against the Brooklyn Nets. Lowry has since been deemed healthy enough to play and will be in the starting lineup when the series tips off on Sunday afternoon. The Raptors are now at full strength but looking toward the betting splits, the numbers seem to illustrate concern over Lowry’s status that had been a focal point for the upcoming series over the past few days.
Both the bets and handle numbers pictured above are notable but it’s worth keeping in mind that these numbers accumulated over the past week while Lowry’s status was in doubt. The total bets on the series are close to evenly split, as one might expect, with a close betting line and two teams that have both been highly successful all season long. The overwhelming majority of the money is on the Celtics, however, which may in large part have been a reaction to Lowry’s ankle injury. It’s also true that the Celtics are underdogs and DraftKings Sportsbook bettors making larger wagers may simply see value in the +115 number attached to Boston. The line had initially opened with the Celtics at +125 but these bigger bets seem to have knocked it down to the current +115.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA) or 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN) or 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO). NH/NJ/WV/IN/PA/CO only. 21+ (18+ NH). Eligibility Restrictions Apply. See website for details.
All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.