Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors

Daniel Collins

Written by: Daniel Collins

Last Updated:

Read Time: 4 minutes


The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors have been Atlantic Division rivals since the league expanded ahead of the 1995-96 regular season. Boston is one of the most storied franchises in NBA history, and the Raptors hope to one day have even a fraction of the success of their rivals. These two cities are separated by more than 550 miles, and the fan bases are extremely different as well. Celtics fans expect success year after year and are much more reserved, while the Raptors have an exciting and jubilant fan base that cheers every victory. As the Raptors continue to grow as an NBA franchise, this rivalry should get more intense as well. The Celtics and Raptors are still waiting for their first-ever postseason meeting, but odds are that it is coming soon. The Celtics are the gold standard in the NBA, but the Raptors have had some terrific teams since becoming a franchise as well. Toronto currently leads the Atlantic Division, but the Celtics are right behind them.


History of Celtics vs. Raptors Rivalry

The first meeting between the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors took place on December 12, 1995, and the Celtics gave the Raptors a rude welcome into the NBA. Boston won 9 of the first 11 games against their new rivals, and they have continued that dominance throughout. In the 92 games between the Celtics and Raptors, Boston has posted a 54-38 record against Toronto. The Raptors have closed the gap in recent seasons, but they have still struggled to consistently beat the Celtics. Toronto has been much better than the Celtics in recent seasons, winning four division titles since the 2014 season.

The NBA was looking to expand into Canada, and they brought the Toronto Raptors into the NBA in 1995. The Raptors remain the only professional basketball team in Canada, and naturally have a massive following of Canadian hoops fans. Things didn’t go well for the Raptors in their first few seasons, but after acquiring Vince Carter in a trade in 1998, the team took off. The Raptors made the NBA Playoffs in three straight seasons from 2000-02. Chris Bosh led the Raptors to back-to-back playoff berths in 2007 and 2008, but they struggled after trading Carter away. After Masai Ujiri took over as team president in 2013, the Raptors returned to their winning ways and have been one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference since that time. The Raptors are a perennial playoff team, and have dominated the Atlantic Division since the 2014 season. Toronto is still looking for its first Eastern Conference Championship, but they will have a great shot at it in 2019.

The Boston Celtics were one of the original eight teams in the NBA way back in 1946, and they have been the winningest franchise in NBA history. Boston is a terrific sports town that loves all of their sports teams, but the Celtics might top the list of being the most popular. Many of the best players in NBA history have suited up for the Celtics through the years, and they were a perennial pick for the NBA championship, and they often delivered on these predictions. Boston won eight straight NBA titles from 1959-1966 under head coach Red Auerbach, and also won five championships in the 1980’s. The Celtics haven’t won an NBA Championship since the 2008 season, but the fans in Boston will tell you that they are due. Odds are that the Celtics will be adding to their league-high 17 championships before too long.

Head to Head Comparison of Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors

There really is no comparison in terms of championships and banners between the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors. It’s not really a fair fight, either, as the Raptors didn’t come into the league until almost 50 years after the Celtics. Boston has won the Eastern Conference 21 times and has won the NBA Championship 17 times. The Raptors have yet to win the Eastern Conference, but it looks like that might change in the future. The Celtics have won 22 division titles, while the Raptors have won just five. Toronto has been the much better team since 2014, winning four Atlantic Division titles since that time.

Glance at Last 20 Games Between Celtics vs. Raptors

Even though the Boston Celtics have seemed to control this rivalry from the beginning, there has been a minor shift in recent years. Taking a look back at the last 20 games between the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors will force us to go all the way back to March 28, 2014. While the last 20 games don’t give us the full story in this rivalry, it should help to make some predictions or picks moving forward. The Raptors have gone 12-8 against the Celtics in the last 20 games, and they have mirrored what the standings have looked like in the Eastern Conference. Home teams have absolutely dominated this rivalry in the past 20 games. The Raptors have gone 9-1 at games played in Toronto, while the Celtics have responded by going 7-3 in games played at the TD Garden in Boston. Things can always change in the upcoming season, but it looks like the home team is the correct team to pick when these two teams get together. Boston has won the last two games between these rivals, with the last victory coming on January 16.

Detailed Look at Series Splits For Celtics-Raptors Rivalry

Simply looking at the winners and losers of the last 20 games doesn’t paint the whole picture of how this rivalry has gone in the last 20 games. It is also important to look at betting trends to help make some predictions and picks moving forward. Sportsbooks set odds based on point spreads and point “totals,” and looking at these results can help determine how dominant a team has really been. The Celtics and Raptors have combined to go “under” and “over” the combined point total ten times each. Boston and Toronto have combined to go “over” the point total in four of the last five games, so maybe a trend is starting to develop. That doesn’t really help out when trying to determine which bet to pick moving forward. Toronto has been the betting favorite 12 times in the last 20 games and has posted an 8-4 record against the spread as the favorite. In the eight games that the Celtics have been the favorite, the two teams have split the eight games. Odds are that these betting trends will make a shift in the upcoming seasons, but the Raptors have been the correct pick when being the favorite in games against the Celtics.