- Kawhi Leonard heavily favored to address crowd in his first return to Toronto
- Leonard was last in the city when tv cameras followed his SUV to a hotel for free agency meeting with Masai Ujiri
- Books have released a range of props for the night
Kawhi Leonard’s decision to swap Toronto for Los Angeles shifted the NBA Championship odds. Leonard won Finals MVP with the Raptors last season, and returns to Canada to face his former teammates on Wednesday night.
The Clippers are currently second in the Western Conference, while Toronto have impressed many in the opening weeks of the season, sitting at 16-7.
Books have released several props for Leonard’s return to Scotiabank Arena. He is heavily favored to address the crowd before the game and there are several bets pitting Leonard against Raptors emerging star Pascal Siakam.
Kawhi Leonard Return to Toronto Prop Bets
|Prop||Over/Yes Odds||Under/No Odds|
|Total Assists for Kawhi Leonard in Game in Toronto on December 11th||Over 4.5 (-120)||Under 4.5 (-120)|
|Total Points for Kawhi Leonard in Game in Toronto on December 11th||Over 28.5 (-120)||Under 28.5 (-120)|
|Total Rebounds for Kawhi Leonard in Game in Toronto on December 11th||Over 8.5 (-120)||Under 8.5 (-120)|
|Who will record more assists on December 11th?||Kawhi Leonard (-280)||Pascal Siakam (+185)|
|Will Kawhi Leonard break his career-high of 45 points on December 11th?||Yes (+650)||No (-1400)|
|Will Kawhi Leonard play on December 11th?||Yes (-5000)||No (+1000)|
|Will Kawhi’s laugh be incorporated in the in-game arena experience after a missed free throw or turnover?||Yes (+1000)||No (-5000)|
|Who will record more points on December 11th?||Kawhi Leonard (-175)||Pascal Siakam (+135)|
|Who will record more rebounds on December 11th?||Kawhi Leonard (+110)||Pascal Siakam (-150)|
|Will Kawhi Leonard address the crowd before the game?||Yes (-350)||No (+225)|
Odds taken Dec. 10th
Board Man Addresses Crowd
It would be a real shock if Leonard decided against addressing the crowd on Wednesday. The odds suggest as much, with sportsbooks offering just -350 on Leonard to speak before the game. Even at that price, there may well be value here considering the circumstances.
Leonard is a reserved, shy character, which might suggest optional public speaking isn’t his thing. In this instance, though, it would be out of the ordinary if he didn’t say a few words to the fans who supported him so ferociously during the 2019 playoffs.
Toronto will forever be thankful for Leonard, the man who brought the city its first NBA title.
The nature of his departure meant there was no real opportunity to say goodbye. The parade on that glorious summer’s day was about celebration, and it’s worth noting that there was still a chance Leonard was going to stay in Toronto at that point. Kyle Lowry even made a particular effort to keep Leonard as a Raptor.
After what he achieved in Toronto, there’s no bitterness about Leonard’s departure. His desire to play in Los Angeles has been well-known for years. Speaking before Wednesday’s game is very unlikely to be met with a negative reaction. Other situations would be more daunting, and could potentially be unpleasant for the player. This doesn’t appear to carry such a risk.
Knowing Leonard’s personality, it’s unlikely to be a lengthy speech, but a few words before the game tips off are expected. Even at +225 for Leonard not to speak, it’s hard to be tempted.
Can Siakam Outscore Him?
Kawhi Leonard is favored at -175 to outscore Pascal Siakam. Siakam, a candidate for Most Improved Player and a definite All-Star, is priced at +135.
Leonard has a marginally higher average per game than Siakam so far this season, sitting at 25.1 PPG compared to the Cameroonian’s 24.5 PPG.
— NBA Canada (@NBACanada) December 10, 2019
Usage is pretty similar, too as both players rank in the top 20 in the NBA. Leonard’s usage rate is 33.9%, Siakam’s is at 28.7%.
With Lowry, Serge Ibaka and now Fred VanVleet missing time, Siakam has had to carry the Raptors at times this year. Leonard has led the way for the Clips, too, but the reigning Finals MVP has seen his offensive burden lighten since the return of Paul George.
Both players have been up and down offensively of late. Leonard scored 11 against the Blazers and only 17 against the Bucks, but also hit 68 across two games with the Wizards. Over Siakam’s last six, he struggled against the Heat, Sixers and Magic, but he also scored 35 against Utah. It’s a mixed bag.
Siakam looks to better bet of the two at +135. The Clippers have more offensive options than Toronto, and that could play into Siakam’s favor here.
Leonard is priced at -120 to have under 4.5 assists on Wednesday night. That line might seem a bit low considering Leonard is averaging 5.2 dimes per game this season, but there’s reason to consider it good value.
Since George made his debut for the Clips, Leonard has been averaging just 4.4 assists per game. He’s never averaged more than 3.5 assists per night over the course of a season. While there’s no question his play-making has improved, Leonard hasn’t been required to create as much since George has been healthy.
Toronto’s defense also excels at forcing turnovers (they rank fifth in the league in opponent turns). They are superb at shutting off passing lanes and covering cutters. Assists do not come easily against the Raptors – Leonard also has four or fewer assists in five of his last nine games. The ‘under’ is the way to go here.
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