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The Drake Curse: Odds Say Raptors Lose at Least 2 Home Games With Drake in Attendance During 2019 NBA Playoffs

Drake's presence hasn't always been a good thing for his favorite teams. Photo by The Come Up Show (Wikimedia Commons) [CC License].
  • Drake has gained a dubious reputation for bringing bad luck to the sports teams he supports
  • The Toronto rapper has had a courtside seat for many dismal playoff performances by the Raptors since becoming the club’s Global Ambassador in 2013
  • The “Drake Curse” was most recently felt by the Toronto Maple Leafs, who saw their hopes of a first-round playoff series win over the Boston Bruins dashed by Drake’s presence at Game 6

The Toronto Raptors punched their ticket to the second round of the NBA Playoffs for a fourth straight year in dominating fashion on Monday night, routing the visiting Orlando Magic 115-96 to close out the series in five games.

While the Raptors managed to pull off the win in Game 5 despite the presence of their global ambassador, Drake, at Scotiabank Arena, the “Drake Curse” lingers over the club as they continue their bid to claim their first-ever NBA Championship. The odds of Toronto losing at least two playoff games on home court with Drake in the house is pegged at a short -175 on the NBA specials at Bovada.

How Many Home Playoff Games Will Raptors Lose With Drake in Attendance?

How Many Home Playoff Games Will Raptors Lose with Drake in Attendance? Odds at Bovada
Over 1.5 -175
Under 1.5 +135

*Odds taken on 04/26/19

Appointment as Raptors Global Ambassador Followed by Dismal Playoff Results

Widely know as a rabid sports fans, the Toronto-born singer and rapper was named the Raptors’ Global Ambassador in 2013 in a bid to expand the club’s appeal among the superstar’s fan base and promote the NBA All-Star Game held in Toronto in 2016.

But while Drake quickly become a regular courtside presence at Raptors’ home games, he failed to become the lucky talisman that Raptors management and fans had hoped, with Toronto promptly bowing out of the playoffs in the first round over the first two years of his association with the Raptors, followed by three straight series loss to Drake’s close friend LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

LeBron James, Golden State Warriors Not Immune to Drake Curse

Of course, King James has not been immune to the “Drake Curse”. The “Hotline Bling” singer was reportedly barred entry to the Miami dressing room following the NBA title win in 2013, but his attempt to join the party proved to be enough to wreak havoc on the future fortunes of both James and the Heat.

The Heat were subsequently outclassed by the San Antonio Spurs in their bid for a third straight title in 2014, and have posted just one playoff series win since. James subsequently returned to Cleveland, where his lone NBA championship win came at the cost of the Golden State Warriors in 2016, when Drake immortalized the club in his song “Summer Sixteen”, and sat atop the Billboard R&B and Hip Hop charts on the day the Warriors fell to defeat to the Cavaliers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

Toronto Maple Leafs, Conor McGregor Among More Recent Victims

More recently, the Toronto Maple Leafs felt the pain of the “Drake Curse”. Poised to knock off the Boston Bruins in a playoff series for the first time in 60 years and advance to the second-round of the NHL playoffs for the first time since 2004, Drake showed up in blue & white for a pivotal Game 6 matchup, which Toronto lost by a 4-2 score before falling to defeat in Boston two nights later.

A pre-fight embrace with Drake proved to be Conor McGregor’s undoing, with the Irish UFC star later suffering a stunning knockout loss to Khabib Nurmagomedev at UFC 229.

A pre-fight embrace with Drake proved to be Conor McGregor’s undoing at UFC 229.

Drake’s decision to don an Alabama Crimson Tide hoodie ahead of this year’s College Football National Championship Game proved to be just the thing that the Clemson Tigers needed, as they proceeded to rout the Tide 44-16 to claim their second national title win over Alabama in three years.

Will Drake Support a Non-Raptors Team in the 2019 NBA Championship?

Will Drake Cheer for a Non-Raptors Team in the NBA Finals? Odds at Bovada
Yes +300
No -500

Raptors Poised to Banish Ghosts of Past Playoff Disappointment

But if there is a team that is positioned to bury the “Drake Curse” once and for all, it is this year’s edition of the Toronto Raptors. Winners of 58 games during the regular season, the Raptors will benefit from LeBron James’ absence from playoff action this year. The club also rides a franchise-record four-game playoff win streak into their second-round clash with the Philadelphia 76ers as heavy -250 favorites on the NBA series prices, and closely trail the favorites as a +950 bet in NBA Championship betting.

And while a -175 wager on the Raptors losing at least two home playoff games with Drake in attendance is attractive, should Drake show up for every contest, Toronto has never been as strong a candidate to reach the Finals as it is this year. The safer bet is on Drake not supporting any team other than the Raptors in this year’s Finals, which will pay out on short -500 odds.

Picks: Raptors Lose Over 1.5 Games with Drake in the House (-175) and Drake Does Not Support a Non-Raptors Team (-500)

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