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Gambling with Gourmet Spud: Reckoning with the Raptors’ reality

It’s been a trying week for the Raptors as they’ve gamely battled with injuries and won enough to stay on top of the league — even as the ideal win total appears to float out of reach.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Every ten games or so, we’ll be checking in with Raptors fan, and noted Twitter celebrity, Gourmet Spud to gauge how he’s feeling about his Toronto bet. The line: Spud took the over on the Raptors at 62 wins. As of this writing, the Raptors are 26-11.


This past week I spent an evening competing in a poker tournament with friends from high school. Naturally, it did not go well. For every hand I won (admittedly, only maybe two or three), I lost so much more. Eventually, after going all in with pocket aces against an eventual flush — a hand my opponent had chased right to the river — I was forced to admit defeat. I couldn’t believe the turn of events, but then I was reminded: hey, that’s poker.

And so it always goes with gambling. Even with a foundation as seemingly solid as the Toronto Raptors, we are forced to look at the odds, the team’s relative pace, and, of course, the overwhelming amount of injuries, and come to a rather stark conclusion: nothing is certain. Not even Gourmet Spud’s 62-win bet, which may be unreachable now. The Raptors currently sit at 26-11, a few games away from the mid-season mark. They’d need to go 36-11 the rest of the way to make good on Spud’s bet. It’s not impossible for the Raptors (if they get healthy), but, well, it could be tough.

As the old gambling saying also goes: you win some... and you lose some. In that spirit, let’s check in with Gourmet Spud anyway to see how things have been going for the month.

Spud’s Highlight from the Past 11 Games:

1) Beating a healthy Warriors team — in Oakland — still seems kind of surreal. Any qualifier you want to put on it, they still went on the road and pounded their full squad. And can I just say that I am absolutely delighted that Draymond Green is playing poorly and hurting his team. If Mr. Glue Guy is the reason that team ultimately blows up, how sweet would that be. Imagine if they didn’t re-sign Green so they could make a real run at Kevin Durant, and he also left? All of a sudden they are Portland. He’s such an asshole. And he injured Jonas Valanciunas on purpose; he has evil intent in his heart. I hope he is forced to sign a max deal with Orlando next summer.

Spud’s Lowlight from the Past 11 Games:

2) These injuries are a bummer. Maybe come April, Kyle Lowry has sat 20 games and Kawhi Leonard has sat 20 games and everyone is healthy and they have the 1-seed and all the worrying is for naught, but we’ve kind of been spoiled on the injury front the last few years. Also C.J. Miles is becoming what Serge Ibaka was last year. But this is the best team in their history so it feels wrong to complain.

[Ed. Note: This was written before last night’s debacle in Orlando.]

Spud, How’s Your Mood?

3) I think I’ve lost my bet and I’m resigned to it. I never counted on the injuries. Also, it still feels weird cheering for Kawhi. I love watching him play, but you can’t get too emotionally invested, right? I wonder what his jersey sales are here. They must be low. Too much to spend on something that may look ridiculous in July. Investing in a Kawhi jersey is like betting on a bitcoin stock. Investing in, say, a Pascal Siakam one is like betting on a bank stock. Sure the first one is more exciting and could maybe pay off huge, but there’s only one that you know for sure will be around in a year. Both carry risk with them, but I know which one i’d bet on making money long term.

Realistically I think 58 wins is what they’ll get. Although the worst is behind them. A 12 game win streak would be nice.

The Raptors are still the best team in the NBA, but the mellow here has been considerably harshed. As Spud says though, maybe the ill health will allow rest for Lowry and Kawhi, while also teaching the Raptors’ bench parts how best to assert their individual talents. We have to make that kind of bet — even if we lose big in the long run.

We’ll see where we stand in another ten games. Don’t give up hope yet, Gourmet Spud!