The Toronto Raptors' hype train is making its way through Sin City and infiltrating sports books left and right.
A 49.5 over/under win projection should instil some confidence, especially considering how low that number was (36.5) just one year ago, via Bovada.lv.
Courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, here's the 2014-15 outlook for each team in the Eastern Conference:
Cleveland Cavaliers - 58.5
Chicago Bulls - 55.5
Toronto Raptors - 49.5
Washington Wizards - 49.5
Charlotte Hornets - 45.5
Miami Heat - 43.5
Brooklyn Nets - 41.5
Atlanta Hawks - 40.5
New York Knicks - 40.5
Detroit Pistons - 36.5
Indiana Pacers - 32.5
Orlando Magic - 28.5
Boston Celtics - 26.5
Milwaukee Bucks - 24.5
Philadelphia 76ers - 15.5
If you're gutsy enough to go over with the Raptors, you'll be giving the team their first 50-win season ever.
Eliminate the horrid 6-12 start with Rudy Gay in 2013-14 and you could have easily pencilled in Toronto for 50 victories. The team wound up winning 48 games anyway. Factor in the cataclysmic shift in the East and you have yourselves the making of one stress-inducing monetary bet.
Miami Heat's win projection dropping from 60.5 to 43.5 is a testament to the basketball brilliance that is LeBron James. South Beach is going to hurt without their former King, but they still have enough pieces to make some noise and secure seeding in the middle of the conference.
The Cleveland Cavaliers obviously reap the benefits of his departure, though. With James back wearing red and yellow, their number jumps from 40.5 to 58.5. Adding three-time NBA All-Star Kevin Love and a slew of talent to shore up the bench is the cherry on top.
The Indiana Pacers got hit the hardest after losing Paul George to a leg injury and Lance Stephenson to the Charlotte Hornets, falling from 52.5 to 32.5. The likes of Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles will be counted on more so to handle the scoring load in the Pacers' backcourt, but that won't be enough to compensate for George and Stephenson's absence one would think.
The Philadelphia 76ers can't catch a break - albeit by design - as they're projected to win the fewest games for the second-straight season. Rookie Joel Embiid will miss a majority of the year and the jury is still out on what Nerlens Noel can bring to the table after recovering from knee surgery.
Question: Is 49.5 a reasonable over/under total for the Toronto Raptors? And...