This is not a drill: the Toronto Raptors are in the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in franchise history. Man, that feels amazing to say.
Awaiting them is LeBron James and the rest of the big bad Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs have yet to lose in the playoffs after dispatching Detroit and Atlanta in dominating fashion, which means it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the Raptors are heavy underdogs this time around.
According to our NBA odds page, Toronto has opened as 10-point underdogs for Game 1 on Tuesday. The over/under for the matchup is set at 202.5.
Despite some spotty play (to put it lightly), the Raps were favoured against the Miami Heat throughout the second round. Injuries to star big men Jonas Valanciunas and Hassan Whiteside changed the landscape of the series completely, and the availability of JV would make a big difference against the Cavs. Head coach Dwane Casey did not announce when the Lithuanian would return to the fold after his team's Game 7 win on Sunday, but even if he's not available for Game 1 I still really like the Raptors at +10.
It's no secret the Raptors have their work cut out for them versus the wine and gold. When examining the series price at sports books, that's especially obvious. Cleveland has a -1100 shot to advance to the NBA Finals, while the Raptors have a +700 chance to do so. That means if you bet $100 on the Cavaliers to win the series, you would collect a measly $9. That same wager on Toronto pays out a staggering $700. Do you believe in miracles?
When it comes to championship odds, the Raptors are clearly on the outside looking in. Take a look for yourself:
Golden State Warriors -160
Cleveland Cavaliers +230
Oklahoma City Thunder +600
Toronto Raptors +3300
What do you guys think about these odds? Are the Raptors getting enough respect?