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Odds Update: Raptors favoured in their series vs. Boston

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The Raptors and Celtics are relatively evenly matched. Both have rosters full of versatile and smart players. Now that they’re playing each other, what do the odds say?

NBA: Playoffs-Toronto Raptors at Brooklyn Nets Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Raptors and Celtics are due to start their Eastern Conference Semi-Finals series this Thursday, though a Game 1 tip-off time has yet to be announced. (And the players are potentially discussing a boycott, though that’s a topic for a different post.) With that energy in the air, it feels like a good time to check in with that maniac man, Jimmy Shapiro, and his relentless odds machine.

Since I was somehow added to Bet Online’s mailing list, we’ll use those odds as a reference (also, we’ll use them because I like what they say). According to the posted lines, here’s the current NBA title picture:

Los Angeles Lakers — 11/4

Los Angeles Clippers — 3/1

Milwaukee Bucks — 3/1

Toronto Raptors — 7/1

Boston Celtics — 8/1

Houston Rockets — 15/1

Miami Heat — 22/1

Dallas Mavericks — 25/1

Utah Jazz — 33/1

Oklahoma City Thunder — 50/1

Now, as you can see, there are a couple of things to take note of here. One, the Lakers are still favoured to win the title. That makes sense — they’re a LeBron James-led team and he tends to make it to the Finals more often than not when he’s in the playoffs (particularly when he’s paired with a second All-Star player). Two, it seems mildly bizarre to still have the Clippers up there so high as, well, they may not make it past Luka Doncic and the Mavericks. That series is tied 2-2 and the Clips do have the invincible Kawhi Leonard, but having watched the ups and downs of Game 4, would you say L.A. is in the driver’s seat there?

Third, hey, the Raptors are behind the Bucks but ahead of the Celtics in their quest to defend their title. That’s good news! (That’s how this all works, right?) And it’s confirmed by Shapiro’s reading on who’s most likely to come out of the East:

Milwaukee Bucks — 5/6

Toronto Raptors — 3/1

Boston Celtics — 7/2

Miami Heat — 15/2

The odds here between the Raptors and Celtics are still quite close, which doesn’t quite give the strong sense of one team winning out over the other. (And both operate in the looming shadow of Milwaukee, though it remains to be seen how real that is.) If nothing else, this offers some more grist to the mill that the Raptors will make it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year.

Now if only we could get a proper update on Kyle Lowry’s injured ankle...