- »What are the Odds the Toronto Raptors Repeat as NBA Champions?
What are the Odds the Toronto Raptors Repeat as NBA Champions?
Basketball fans are anxiously counting down the hours until tip off on tonight’s NBA restart. After the coronavirus wreaked havoc, shutting down the season, along with everything else, their favourite stars are set to return to action following a nearly five-month hiatus. They won’t be able to attend the games, but at least they’ll be able to watch the season play out on television. And, they’re in for something a little different. The final games of 2020 will be formatted like nothing ever seen before.
In June, the league and its players association agreed to health and safety protocols that would allow basketball to resume safely. The best 22 of the league’s 30 teams were invited to play, and have congregated in Orlando, Florida, the NBA’s so-called ‘bubble,’ at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex inside Disney World. Each team will finish off the regular season by playing eight games. The top seven teams in each conference will then advance to the playoffs, with the eighth seeds determined by a potential play-in tournament.
The Toronto Raptors are ready, and enter the restart with a very impressive 46-18 record. They are currently sitting in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference, just a few games behind the Milwaukee Bucks. The Raptors first game back is Saturday versus the Lakers.
“Broadcast schedule is set,” the team announced last week via twitter.
Each of Toronto’s eight remaining games will be televised. Four on TSN, four on Sportsnet, and the playoffs are set to begin August 17th.
Marc Gasol, a three-time NBA all-star and an integral part of the Raptors’ championship run a year ago, has been itching to get back on the court. Three weeks ago, he departed the team bus for the Orlando bubble. The 6’11 centre was playing a different kind of defence, though, posting to twitter a picture of himself wearing a black protective face mask, and red shirt with the phrase Black Lives Matter in bold letters across the front.
“Let’s do this,” he tweeted. “It’s the little details that are vital. Step by step.”
Odds of a Raptors Repeat?
The Lakers are the clear favourites to win. Caesars Palace has listed Lebron James and company at +180 to claim the crown. The Bucks are next at +275, while the Clippers round out the top three at +325. The bookmakers currently have the Raptors way back at +1800 to hoist the trophy, making them an 18-to-1 long shot to win back-to-back NBA titles.
“They did lose Kawhi Leonard in free agency, a significant loss,” says Joseph Falchetti, writer, gambler and editor-in-chief at Safest Betting Sites, a leading authority on American betting sites and online sports books. There is a positive side, though.
“Pascal Siakam has turned himself into an elite player in almost every way since Leonard’s departure. The Raptors also have several other stars, including Marc Gasol and Kyle Lowry. The team’s excellent record, as we head into the restart, is not a fluke.”
Good Team, Good Value
Falchetti is touting the Los Angeles Clippers to win it all, but he doesn’t count out the Canadian side. There is great value to be had with a wager on the Raptors to win the Eastern Conference.
“Right now, BetOnline has them pegged at +750 or 7.5/1 to win the East. It’s a great price. And it means you only need to win the bet 12% of the time to break even. Remember, the Raptors beat the Bucks last season in the East to ultimately win the title. There is no doubt Milwaukee is the better team. In fact, by regular record season, they’re the best team in the NBA. However, these odds are too enticing to pass up for an excellent Raptors team. And one that I think is easily the second-best team in the East.”
Whether you are betting or not, odds are you’ll likely enjoy the sprint to the finish line. It’s been five long months, but hoop dreams are a reality once again.