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Odds outlook: Las Vegas not expecting Raptors to take leap in 2015-16

The Toronto Raptors look like an improved team heading into the new NBA season, but Nevada sports books are predicting the squad to be worse than last year.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In the sports world, Las Vegas oddsmakers are notoriously accurate for predicting how a team's season will play out. If that trend holds true in the 2015-16 NBA campaign, Toronto Raptors fans could be in for another underwhelming year.

As of mid-August, the latest odds at the renowned Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook list the Raps in a three-way tie with the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks for the sixth best chances to capture the Eastern Conference crown at 22/1.

The book's Eastern Conference champion odds are as follows:

Cleveland Cavaliers 2/7 
Chicago Bulls 6/1 
Atlanta Hawks 10/1 
Washington Wizards 17/1 
Miami Heat 17/1 
Indiana Pacers 22/1 
Toronto Raptors 22/1 
Milwaukee Bucks 22/1 
Boston Celtics 40/1 
Detroit Pistons 80/1 
New York Knicks 80/1 
Brooklyn Nets 80/1 
Philadelphia 76ers 120/1 
Orlando Magic 120/1 
Charlotte Hornets 120/1

It's fair to peg the Cavs, Bulls and Hawks as the three favourites in the conference, but things get interesting after that. While many prognosticators are expecting the Miami Heat to make a leap up the standings this season, it's a bit surprising to see them that high on the list so early.

A healthy Paul George and the new-look, small ball embracing Indiana Pacers will almost certainly outdo last season's 38-44 record. The young Bucks took a big step in 2014-15 in head coach Jason Kidd's first year at the helm, giving Chicago all they could handle in a rough and entertaining first-round playoff series. Adding former Detroit Pistons big man Greg Monroe into the mix means an already talented up-and-coming core just got that much more dangerous.

Here's a look at the Sin City sports book's outright NBA title chances for every team in the Association (with apologies to Dallas Mavericks fans):

Cleveland Cavaliers 2/1 
San Antonio Spurs 4/1 
Golden State Warriors 9/2
Oklahoma City Thunder 6/1      
Los Angeles Clippers 8/1       
Chicago Bulls 15/1 
Houston Rockets 20/1 
Atlanta Hawks 25/1 
New Orleans Pelicans 30/1 
Memphis Grizzlies 30/1
Washington Wizards 40/1
Miami Heat 40/1  
Indiana Pacers 50/1
Toronto Raptors 50/1 
Milwaukee Bucks 50/1
Dallas Mavericks 100/1
Boston Celtics 100/1
Utah Jazz 100/1
Phoenix Suns 100/1
Los Angeles Lakers 200/1
Portland Trail Blazers 200/1
Detroit Pistons 200/1
Denver Nuggets 200/1
New York Knicks 200/1    
Brooklyn Nets 200/1
Sacramento Kings 300/1
Philadelphia 76ers 300/1
Orlando Magic 300/1
Minnesota Timberwolves 300/1
Charlotte Hornets 300/1

The Dinos once again find themselves in the same ballpark as the Pacers and Bucks - a clear indication Vegas is not expecting Dwane Casey's crew to take a badly needed step in the right direction.

Prior to tip-off in the season opener last October, the sports book was offering the Raptors at 13/1 to win the East and 30/1 in NBA championship futures markets. Is this year's club really that much worse than the 2014-15 edition? I'm not so sure.

Team general manager Masai Ujiri knew an offseason shakeup had to happen in the wake of an ugly first-round exit to the Washington Wizards and delivered. Major acquisitions DeMarre Carroll and hometown boy Cory Joseph are welcome additions to a team that sorely needed a boost, particularly on the defensive end of the floor.

A lot can happen between now and the start of the season but if we're operating on the aforementioned late summer odds, my money's on the Raps performing above expectations.

What do you think? Is Vegas not giving the Raptors enough respect, or are the oddsmakers correct in predicting that the team will be worse than last year?