2017-18 Toronto Raptors Predictions and NBA Futures Odds Picks
The Raptors are in a tough spot right now. They are good enough to consistently win 50 or so games, sell a lot of tickets, and win a playoff series most years. But they would need a miracle - like about 25 debilitating injuries for the stars of other teams - in order to win a title or even make a deep run. They are well behind two teams in the East and probably five or so in the West. So, they are too good to blow it all up but not good enough to do any real damage. And, given that they only made tweaks this offseason, and that they have locked in their core and given up any financial freedom as a result, what we have seen is probably mostly what we will get.
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2017 Toronto Raptors Betting Storylines
While what we have seen from the Raptors has produced solid results, it isn't always the most exciting to watch. They don't play a particularly modern style of ball, which is what has come with having Dwane Casey as the coach for six seasons. Seemingly in recognition that they can't keep doing the same things and expect different results, though, they have had a decidedly different look in the preseason so far. They have never relied on the three-pointer like a lot of teams in the league do these days, and it has hurt them. They upgraded their abilities on that front a little this summer and have been throwing up threes in bulk in their exhibition games. They aren't hitting as many as they should, and they will likely dial back the approach when the games start to count, but we should still see an evolved team this year. How much of an impact it has on their results remains to be seen, though it's tough to see a whole lot of upside - they weren't as good as Boston last year, and the Celtics have improved much more than Toronto has.
DeMar DeRozan is paid like a superstar, but I can't shake the feeling that he is never going to truly deliver full value for the Raptors. He can score a lot of points, but he is not efficient - especially from beyond the arc - and he does not elevate his game when games get tougher. And Kyle Lowry, who was locked up this summer, is a strong player, but health has been an issue, and he'll turn 32 this season, so at some point over the course of this contract the team will be paying him well past his prime. Put simply, teams are collecting superstars these days, and the duo Toronto has just doesn't fully measure up with the best of the league. The Raptors have effectively bought their own ceiling to their success with these two contracts, a very expensive and frustratingly low ceiling.
The team took a big risk in an offseason move. They sent backup point guard Cory Joseph to Indiana for shooter C.J. Miles. The team had a need at small forward, and Miles could start the most games he has since he started the full season in 2009 - though Norman Powell will try to have something to say about that. But Joseph was a capable backup at the point, and with Lowry less than totally reliable on the health front he was a nice security blanket to have. Now they need Delon Wright or Fred VanVleet to step up and fill the void left by Joseph. It's not necessarily a bad deal - just one we can't give a grade to yet.
2017 Toronto Raptors Additions and Departures
We've covered the biggest moves already - at least in passing. Kyle Lowry was signed to a three-year, $100 million contract. Norman Powell was signed for another four years at $10.5 million per. And Joseph was traded for Miles. The only deal we haven't touched on so far is the one that opened the space at small forward in the first place. DeMarre Carroll was signed two years ago with much fanfare, but he just didn't work out in Toronto. Injuries were a frequent issue, and he was far from ideally effective when he was playing. It was time for a change, so they sent him to Brooklyn in a classic salary dump. They included a first- and second-round pick next year, and they received back Justin Hamilton, who they immediately waived. They paid a hefty price to get him off their books, but it was a move that made sense for the team and one that will work out well as long as one of their options at small forward works out.
2017 Toronto Raptors Futures Odds and Trends
Toronto Raptors Futures Odds
NBA title odds ( from BetOnline ) : +10000
Eastern Conference title odds : +2500
Demar Derozan MVP Odds ( from Bovada) : +6000
Kyle Lowry MVP Odds : +15000
Season win total (from BetOnline): 47.5 ("over" is favored at -130)
There were betting profits to be had last year - they were 45-36-1 ATS. They went over the total 44 times and "under" 38.
2017 Toronto Raptors Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
The moves they have made are fine - not thrilling, but fine. They will win plenty of games - somewhere between 48 and 55 like they do every year. And they will have a good chance of winning their opening-round playoff series. But then they will get beaten up by Cleveland or Boston in the second round. It's sadly predictable.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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