In addition to player rankings galore, it’s NBA futures gambling season, where you can plunk down money against your team’s results this upcoming season, and Las Vegas oddsmakers will take it and never give it back.
Those mysterious oddsmakers released a bunch of numbers this week, and if you’re a gambling noob like me (and general non-practitioner of math in all forms besides “how many slices of pizza is too many to eat”) they don’t really mean much.
But! For those that do like to throw money away (er, invest their money in high-risk scenarios, I mean) these numbers are, indeed very important.
For the sake of our boys in red and black (and white! And sometimes gold. And are they still doing that Huskies thing?) let’s take a look at where the Toronto Raptors stand in the eyes of the gambling world.
Odds the Toronto Raptors win the Atlantic Division: 11/4
I don’t know why they wouldn’t just round up slightly and say 3/1 for the sake of dumb bloggers like me, but that’s Vegas for you.
More important than the number itself is that Vegas has the Boston Celtics with 5/6 odds of winning the Atlantic, and the Philadelphia 76ers with... oh, right. 3/1 odds. So basically they’re saying Toronto has a slightly better chance of winning this division than Philadelphia, and that Boston is the huge favourite.
I mean, I picked Boston to win the Atlantic myself, but I think it’ll be a lot closer than that.
Odds the Toronto Raptors win the Eastern Conference: 4/1
Hey, that’s a number I can square in my brain! 4/1: simple. Sounds pretty good, too. Sure, they’ve got Boston at 10/11, but at least Toronto is still second.
Wait, what? Philly is 7/2 to win the East—in other words, slightly better odds than Toronto? Come on Vegas, you’re messing with me now.
I take this to mean that Toronto’s postseason reputation factors in to these odds, to which I say: Kawhi Leonard is a Raptor, Las Vegas. In case you haven’t heard.
Odds the Toronto Raptors win the NBA title: 16/1
These are probably the highest odds the Raptors have ever had to win a title, and yet they’re still only the 6th-most likely team to win it this year, according to Vegas.
Here’s where you should laugh: Vegas has the Los Angeles Lakers as 10/1 favourites! Ahead of both Toronto and Philly! The oddsmakers clearly expect a lot of people to simply bet on LeBron James which, I mean, I guess I can’t blame them, but... those people are gonna lose a lot of money.
Naturally the favourites are the Golden State Warriors at 5/8, but Boston pops up next with 6/1 odds followed by the Rockets at 8/1. Clearly Vegas expects a Warriors-Celtics final, and that’s... well, it’s not a terrible bet, says the self-proclaimed “blogger who doesn’t know anything about gambling.”
What can we take away from this? Remember that Vegas only wants you to gamble and lose. They’ll stack the odds in whatever favour wins the house the most money, not in favour of who they think will actually win. So keep that in mind before you get too saucy about the Los Angeles freakin’ Lakers having better title odds than the Toronto Raptors.