Saturday, June 13
The Toronto Raptors were overlooked last season when they won the NBA championship. The Raptors still aren't getting respect as I've seen odds as high as 30-1 on them (currently at Sportsbook.com) to repeat their championship.
No Kawhi Leonard is a big reason for those high odds.
But guess what? Toronto has a better winning percentage (.719) and average scoring margin (plus 6.5 points) than it did last season. The Raptors are the best defensive team in the league giving up the fewest points per game and ranking first in 3-point percentage defense and second in defensive field goal percentage. Only the Bucks and Lakers have a better record than the Raptors' 46-18.
The Raptors achieved this mark despite dealing with multiple injuries. Now the Raptors have gotten healthy with the extended layoff. They have a deep bench, championship experience and confidence. Yet they still are being underrated.
I smell an opportunity here.
Obviously, the Bucks will be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference when NBA action presumably resumes at the end of July. There's a crapshoot element now with teams being idle for 4 1/2 months and playing their remaining games in Orlando. Road records have to be emphasized. The Raptors are 23-9 in their away matchups. The Celtics are 20-12 on the road and 76ers a miserable 10-26.
So a Raptors-Bucks Eastern Conference Final could happen a second straight year. This could lead to a hedging opportunity given the large odds on the Raptors.
You can find my Triple Star NFL Week 1 play plus my five top NFL Over/Under regular season win totals on my home page, located here: https://pregame.com/pros/stephen-nover.
Stay smart, stay safe.