2020 Raptors Championship Odds: Title Repeat Seems Unlikely
Toronto Raptors Betting Storylines
I have been a sports fan my whole life. And I have lived in Canada my whole life - save for that one long past year in Thailand. And never have those two things converged as impressively and enjoyably as they did last spring. Canada is a hockey country, but when one of the teams makes a deep playoff run the rest of the country just gets annoyed and jealous. It's regional joy. But as Toronto marched through the playoffs last year, it gripped the country. I watched Game 4 of the finals in a crowd of 15,000 on a big screen in a park just down the road from my home - and I live 2,000 miles from Toronto. It was a uniquely incredible time - one that just can't happen in the U.S. like that. And it may never be repeated. At the very least, it isn't likely to happen again this year. Toronto should be good. They could win a round. Maybe even two. But they aren't going to be the flashpoint for greatness that they were last year. And all us maple syrup eaters up here are a little worse off for it.
Toronto Raptors Additions and Departures
The obvious headline here is that Kawhi Leonard didn't know what was good for him, didn't like being the biggest athletic hero in an entire nation, got tired of wearing a parka five months a year, and headed back close to home to join the Clippers. I would like to believe that it was a tough decision for him, and I don't think I am wrong. But he did what he did, and it obviously changed everything for the Raptors. His load was very heavily managed last year, but that was really a positive for the team. They learned how to play without him, so they weren't entirely reliant on one player as some teams in such a situation can be. And then they had the best player in the league join them when it mattered, and he had reasonably fresh legs. But he's gone now, and the Robin to his Batman, Danny Green, is gone as well - though to the Lakers , not the Clippers.
Obviously, the team would be in much better shape with Leonard than without him, but it is what it is. And it's not like the team just spent the offseason pouting and wishing things had turned out differently. First, they took care of internal business, extending Marc Gasol for one year, and, less importantly, Patrick McCaw for two. Then they added a bunch of lower-level free agents to see what can stick. Most notable were Stanley Johnson, who has shown flashes in his four years in the league, but has yet to put it all together, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who had a career year two years back for the Nets, but took a step back last year, and Cameron Payne, who is useful enough as a cheap backup point guard.
They didn't have much to do in the draft - a by-product of pushing all the chips in for Kawhi. They only took center Dewan Hernandez from Miami with the second last pick in the draft.
Toronto Raptors Futures Odds and Trends
Toronto Raptors Futures Odds
NBA title odds : +2500
Eastern Conference title odds : +1000
Atlantic Division title odds: +600
Season win total : 46.5
Will the Toronto Raptors make the playoffs: Yes -400, No +320
The Raptors were champions where it mattered, but their championship ways did not extend to the betting window. There, they were just 38-44 ATS, so the money came from betting against them. They went over the total 44 times, though, compared to just 35 times under, so there were solid profits to be had there.
Toronto Raptors Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
On the surface, taking a really talented team, taking away the best player, and bringing back the rest of the roster, isn't ideal. And it all but certainly isn't going to work nearly as well as it did last year. It doesn't have to be a total disaster, though. It's going to come down to Pascal Siakam. He was a rapidly emerging star last year. But that was in a supporting role. Now he's the man. And people will be targeting him. If he can handle it - and he certainly could - then the team will be quite relevant. And that will be helped by OG Anunoby if he can shake off the massive step back he took last year and returns to the arc he seemed to be on in 2018. If that doesn't happen, though, then it could be a long season. But even then, the team has options to jumpstart a rebuild. Kyle Lowry, Gasol and Serge Ibaka are all on expiring contracts. And all of them are very capable players who would be in demand in the season if things were falling off the rails for the Raptors by early in the new year. Either way they have options. But I lean towards the optimistic side. I'm a Canadian - it's what we do.
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