Because oddsmakers don’t want to let any unanswered question go by without making some money on the outcome, you can even place a wager on exactly where the Raptors will be playing their 36 home games this coming season.
We’ve written about a couple of the choices already, but let’s run down what the oddsmakers at Bodog have to say, and use some very thoughtful and thoroughly researched data points to determine which of the available options make sense for the boys in black and red and sometimes gold.
As always, do not, under any circumstances, take the following as actual gambling advice, and should you choose to gamble, always do so within your means.
Home base: Nashville
Vegas says: +225
John gave the full run-down on the Nashville option yesterday, including the fact that Raptors officials visited the city recently.
Why it makes sense: I... honestly don’t have a good reason here. Nashville is not particularly close to the Raptors’ division foes, and isn’t even in the same time zone! In fact it places them further West than any other Eastern Conference team, except the Bucks and Bulls.
Would the Raptors enjoy Nashville: Nashville, of course, is the home of country music and the Grand Ole Opry. Are there any country fans on the team? I’m guessing no. History buffs might like some of the historic American Civil War sites, maybe?
Why the Raptors should avoid Nashville: As noted, geographically, it doesn’t make much sense. The city overall is also a large investor in the private prison industry, which should make the Raptors at least a little bit uncomfortable.
Should you make the bet: Somehow these oddsmakers always have the inside scoop, and since we know the Raptors have visited, this is likely the best way to make some money betting on this zany idea.
Home base: Toronto
Vegas says: +350
Yay! There’s a chance the Raptors might stay in Toronto! Let’s hear it for this option! Wait, how many COVID cases did you say we had today? A new record!? Ugh.
Why this makes sense: Duh.
Would the Raptors enjoy Toronto: The days of players hating on Toronto have long since past, and since most of the players under contract with the team already have homes here, gonna go out on a limb and say yes. Maybe they wouldn’t enjoy it so much in lockdown, if we move back to that stage of the pandemic, but as long as they’re getting to the gym every day I think they’d be fine.
Why the Raptors should avoid Toronto: Given that COVID is on the rise here and continues to run unchecked in the United States, crossing that border regularly still seems dicey. And even if it’s fine on December 22, who knows what it will be like on January 22, or in March or May?
Should you make the bet: Honestly, I don’t think you should. Given all the uncertainty, I just don’t think the NBA wants to risk the hassle if crossing the border becomes a bigger issue.
Home base: Buffalo
Vegas says: +500
Would the Raptors follow in the Blue Jays’ footsteps? That seems to be the thinking here.
Why this makes sense: Buffalo is the closest American City to Toronto. KeyBank Center, home of the NHL’s Sabres, can be converted to basketball and has hosted multiple NCAA Tournament games. It’s a short flight to the team’s Atlantic Division rivals. This one checks most of the boxes!
Would the Raptors enjoy Buffalo: It’s very easy to rag on Buffalo, so I won’t do that here. But for players used to playing in a big, cosmopolitan city like Toronto, Buffalo will definitely seem like a step down.
Why the Raptors should avoid Buffalo: If I’m a Raptor, and I can’t play in Toronto, there’s definitely a part of me that’s saying “let’s go someplace warm!” Buffalo is just as cold as Toronto and often gets even more snow and wild weather. And since most of the players’ families are in the States anyway, and fans won’t be allowed in to the games, proximity to Toronto doesn’t seem all that relevant.
Should you make the bet: I’m going with no. It’s a good choice in a lot of ways, but I don’t think it has the buzz of some of these others.
Home base: Tampa Bay
Vegas says: +650
This is a new one for me! Tampa Bay? Florida? Really??
Why this makes sense: Struggling to find a reason here, other than “it’s warm.” It’s close to several Eastern Conference opponents, I suppose (but not the Atlantic division).
Would the Raptors enjoy Tampa: Again, the weather is nice. It’s also home to the world’s longest continuous sidewalk. So it’s got that going for it.
Why the Raptors should avoid Tampa: If you think the COVID cases in Ontario are bad, please don’t look at the data in Florida. Hoo boy.
Should you make the bet: The value here is pretty good, at +650. But if you’re gonna make that bet, I think you should save it for our next contestant.
Home base: New Jersey
Vegas says: +650
Jersey! Home of Bon Jovi, Sinatra, and Springsteen, not to mention Devils, Giants, Jets, Nets, Swamp Dragons (almost!)... and now Raptors?
Why this makes sense: Geographically, New Jersey (Bodog doesn’t specify, but let’s say Newark, where the Devils play (and former home of the Nets)) — is the most logical choice, considering the Raptors’ division. They’re a bus ride from Manhattan and Brooklyn, and a short flight from Philadelphia and Boston, and there’s a major international airport there. They're all in the same time zone. They’re relatively close to Toronto, if that matters. It’s ideal.
Would the Raptors enjoy Jersey: They probably wouldn’t, but again, Manhattan is just across the river. If I couldn’t spend the season in Toronto, honestly, New York City would be my next choice.
Why the Raptors should avoid Jersey: The Raptors have some bad history with regards to New Jersey, given the Vince Carter trade and subsequent 2007 playoff loss. But that’s ancient history.
Should you make the bet: There hasn't been as much buzz here as I would expect, but the value at +650 is great. Pull the trigger, I say.
Home base: Kansas City
Vegas says: +700
Patrick Mahomes wants to make it so. Do the Raptors?
Why this makes sense: Kansas City is a good sports town, which is nice. And they haven’t had NBA basketball for 35 years. But other than that, I’m not sure if there’s a logical reason why the Raptors would relocate to Kansas City.
Would the Raptors enjoy Kansas City: Kansas City is known for its jazz scene, so it might be high on Nick Nurse’s list of favourites. It’s also known for BBQ, which, while a great thing in the general sense, probably isn’t something NBA players should be enjoying too much of in-season.
Why the Raptors should avoid Kansas City: Sports fans in this city booed a moment of silence for racial equality in September. And Jason Whitlock came up here. Maybe I should take back that “good sports town” comment.
Should you make the bet: Nah. Again, if you’re making one bet on one of these lower-seeded options, stick with New Jersey.
Home base: Syracuse
Vegas says: +900
Our tour of “upstate New York teams with basketball arenas” continues!
Why this makes sense: Close to Toronto, has a strong basketball following (and arena) thanks to the Orangemen. Relatively close to Atlantic Division competitors.
Would the Raptors enjoy Syracuse: Syracuse was once the home of America’s salt industry. There is a salt museum. Excuse me, it’s The Salt Museum. Draw your own conclusions!
Why the Raptors should avoid Syracuse: Syracuse is fine, I think. It’d be a fine town to play in. But there are better options available, I think.
Should you make the bet: At +900? Hey, if you like underdogs and moonshots, then yes, go for it.
Home base: Louisville
Vegas says: +1400
Daniel wrote about Louisville a while back, and laid it out pretty clearly: There’s no way that the Raptors should play in Louisville.
Why this makes sense: It doesn’t.
Would the Raptors enjoy Louisville: No.
Why the Raptors should avoid Louisville: Say her name.
Should you make the bet: No.
So there you have it. Nashville is the favourite, but New Jersey and Buffalo seem like more logical choices. Training camps are only three weeks away, so here’s betting we’ll have an answer sooner rather than later.