Do you smell that in the air? With Media Day in the books and preseason action rapidly approaching, the NBA is officially back. It's time to rejoice, fellow hoop heads.
When it comes to our beloved Toronto Raptors, there's plenty of reason for optimism. The Raps recorded their best season in franchise history last year, and a rollercoaster of a playoff run ended in the Eastern Conference Finals when the eventual champion Cleveland Cavaliers dispatched them in six games.
Every Canadian basketball fan and their dog has an opinion about the 2016-17 Raptors, but what do the good folks in Las Vegas think about this group? At least one sports book doesn't expect the Dinos to recreate the magic of a year ago.
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, a.k.a. the biggest book in Sin City, is giving Toronto +4000 odds of winning the NBA title. That puts them sixth in the list behind the Golden State Warriors (-125), Cleveland Cavaliers (+300), San Antonio Spurs (+900), Boston Celtics (+1800) and Los Angeles Clippers (+2500).
When it comes to the Eastern Conference, oddsmakers have tabbed Toronto with a +1400 shot of heading to the NBA Finals. Cleveland (-215) and Boston (+500) are standing in their way, with the Atlanta Hawks (+2500), Chicago Bulls (+2500), Indiana Pacers (+2800) and New York Knicks (+2800) listed as the other main contenders.
The Raptors have raised the Atlantic Division banner for three years in a row, but Vegas is expecting the streak to end there. Al Horford and the Celtics are -110 favorites to garner the crown, with Toronto (+125), New York (+800), Philadelphia (+3500) and Brooklyn (+20000) rounding out things out.
As for an over/under season win total, the shop is offering Toronto at 49.5. That's short of last season's 56-win mark, but it isn't really much of a surprise. The Raps' win total entering the 2015-16 campaign was 45.5, and they soared above that number with ease. Vegas always seems to underestimate this squad, and it's happening once again despite the deep playoff run.
The gambling Gods have spoken. What do you think about Toronto's odds for the upcoming NBA season? Have your say in the comments.