The NBA season is scheduled to resume in about a month, and that means that gambling on NBA games is also set to resume! Let’s take a look at what your odds are if you’re willing and able to set some money down on the defending champion Toronto Raptors this summer.
First, shout-out here to the crew over at DraftKings Nation for compiling most of the following information. Second, as always, be sure to gamble within your means. Third, I am about as far from a gambling expert as one can be, so don’t take any of the following as actual advice! My interest remains centred on how Vegas sees the teams and the scenarios playing out.
And you know what? There are some fun scenarios here for our Raptors!
Odds on Toronto’s Title Chances
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Raptors are currently +2200 to win the 2020 NBA title, and +700 to make the Finals.
The latter ties them with the Boston Celtics for the second-best bet to come out of the East, behind the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks (+165). The Heat and 76ers then follow behind at +900 to make the Finals.
As for title favourites? Seems that Lakers exceptionalism is in full effect! DraftKings currently has LeBron James and co. as the slight title favourites, +240, versus +250 for Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.
Odds on the NBA Finals Matchup
Not surprisingly, Bucks-Lakers (+310) and Bucks-Clippers (+350_ are the most likely NBA Finals matchups, but let’s imagine some goofier scenarios for the defending champs.
First, yes, Vegas thinks the Raptors’ most likely opponent should they make the Finals is the Lakers, at +1900. But at +2000 is the potential Raptors-Clippers matchup! I don’t think I have to tell you how incredible this would be, for the champs to make it all the way back to the Finals, only to face their MVP from last year’s run, Kawhi Leonard, when they get there. How motivated do you think Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam would be by the chance to show everyone that last year’s team wasn’t just “Kawhi and some dudes,” it was in fact “a really great team that had Kawhi”? To be honest I think this is a terrible matchup for the Raptors, as LA’s size on the wings creates way too many mismatches for Toronto’s small-ish backcourt. But still, I would be pretty damn stoked to see it — and winning $2000 on a $100 bet on this matchup would be the cherry on top.
But let’s get crazy here — because you know what, we have no idea what’s going to happen in the Vegas bubble, who’s going to get sick or hurt (fingers crossed that injuries and illnesses are minimal!) or who might drop out. The Clippers and Lakers might get bounced early. Would a Raptors-Jazz series, featuring an OG Anunoby-Rudy Gobert rematch, be of interest? The odds of that one sit at +12000, but I gotta be honest, I think everyone is gonna be gunning for the Jazz — I think Gobert is gonna face some lingering blame for his dismissal of COVID-19 back in March (unfairly, I should add — someone was gonna get it, and the league was gonna shut down. It’s just the perfect storm that it was Gobert, after he “joked” about it with reporters). So it seems to me that Utah’s chances of making the Finals should be lower.
DraftKings Nation really likes the Raptors-Trail Blazers matchup, at +50000. I see where they’re coming from; the Blazers, like the Raptors, should finally be healthy (including a returning Jusuf Nurkic), and could be poised to make a run if a few things break their way. Of course, they have to actually make the playoffs, first; Portland is currently in ninth place in the West, behind the Grizzlies, and need to make up a full three-and-a-half games to climb into eighth, and even then, will likely need to win the double-elimination playoff game to make it. (Grizzlies-Raptors would also be a super-fun Finals matchup, wouldn’t it? The odds of that one are at +80000!)
Should you bet on the Bubble-Era Toronto Raptors?
Again, be sure to gamble only within your means. But I have to say, I like some of these odds! Even just to make the Finals, your $100 bet on the Raptors would net you $700. I still really like Toronto’s chances to come out of the East, and as scary as the Bucks are, I still think a fully healthy Raptors squad can beat them in a seven-game series, especially one at a neutral site.