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Raptors NBA Championship Odds 8-1 After Acquiring Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol as Memphis Grizzly
Marc Gasol has been traded to the Toronto Raptors ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline. Photo by @sbnGrizzlies (Twitter)
  • The Toronto Raptors added Marc Gasol from Memphis at the NBA Trade Deadline
  • The Raptors currently sit second in Eastern Conference at 39-16
  • Their .709 win percentage ranks third in the entire league

The Toronto Raptors made a huge splash hours before the league’s official trade deadline, landing Marc Gasol from the Grizzlies in exchange for Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, CJ Milles, and a 2024 second-round pick.  Essentially, the Raptors weakened their bench in order to add another monster piece to their rotation.

The Raptors weren’t the only Eastern Conference power to make a move, the Bucks and Sixers were busy as well. With all the movement, BetOnline has updated their 2019 NBA Championship odds.

2019 NBA Championship Odds

Team BetOnline Odds (02/07/19)
Golden State Warriors -175
Toronto Raptors +800
Milwaukee Bucks +900
Houston Rockets +1200
Boston Celtics +1400

The Raptors are the lead dog in the group chasing the Golden State Warriors and there are now three key reasons to love their chances of challenging for the NBA Championship.

1. Raptors Landed a Major Contributor in Marc Gasol

Let’s start with the most recent move. The trade lands the Raptors a player averaging 15.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.7 assists, which ranks second behind only Nikola Jokic for centers in the NBA.

The original report for this trade involved the Raptors sending Kyle Lowry to Memphis and Mike Conley joining Gasol. That deal would have been a major shift, probably too major for Toronto to remain a contender. Adding Gasol, while keeping Lowry gives the team a big three when you include MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard (more on him later). Gasol may not be as valuable as he was in his prime, but he’s still a major contributor on both ends of the floor.

2. The Raptors Are Posting Elite Numbers on Offense and Defense

Before the trade, the Raptors were an elite unit on both ends of the floor. They average 113.9 points per game which is seventh best in the NBA and they have a +5.4 differential, which is fourth.

The Raptors average 113.9 points per game which is seventh best in the NBA and they have a +5.4 differential, which is fourth.

On defense, they allow 108.5 points per game which ranks 11th. The biggest spot Gasol helps is on the defensive side of the ball, making it entirely likely this team will be top 10 on both offense and defense by season’s end. Trying to pinpoint a weakness with these Raptors is a tough challenge, and should result in them being favorites in any series before the NBA Finals.

3. Kawhi Leonard is a Legit MVP Candidate

The Raptors may have a problem if Kawhi Leonard walks in free agency, but that’s a problem for another day. For now they have the best you can ask for, an MVP candidate playing for a max deal. They’ll get his best effort down the stretch and it’s possible he’ll improve on the already impressive 27.3 points and 7.9 assists he’s put up so far.

Stars win championships and the Raptors have a legit one in Leonard. As good as Gasol is on defense, it’s Leonard that’ll get the match up against the other team’s best in a playoff series.

Are the Raptors the Best in the Eastern Conference?

Simply, yes they are. The Bucks look good, as do the Sixers, and Celtics, but all three of those teams will struggle to match up with the new look Raptors. If you’re looking to fade the Warriors and bet on a value pick in the NBA, take Toronto and watch what this team is capable of down the stretch and during playoff time.

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Ryan has been working at TSN for over nine years, and is now a lead writer and content producer at That's Hockey. Over the years, he's launched and hosted TSN's first NCAAF podcast, The College Football Show, and been featured on the likes of TSN 1050, Sportscentre, and That's Hockey 2Nite.