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Sportsbooks Split on Raptors’ NBA Championship Odds

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry drives to the basket.
Kyle Lowry and the Raptors are off to a perfect start in 2018-19. Photo by Keith Allison (flickr) [CC License].
  • Sportsbooks can’t seem to agree on how the Raptors will perform in 2018-19
  • Will Kawhi Leonard reassert himself as one of the NBA’s best two-way players?
  • Will Danny Green and Greg Monroe make an impact in Toronto?

Turns out you and your buddies aren’t the only ones who can’t get a handle on the Raptors. Online sportsbooks are also struggling to come to a consensus on Toronto’s title chances, leading to wild discrepancies in the team’s 2019 NBA championship odds.

The Drakes are currently available as short as +1400 at Bovada, and as long as +15000 at MyBookie. Their average championship odds sit at +5000.

2019 NBA Championship Average Odds

So, why are professional bookmakers in obvious disagreement over Toronto’s fortunes? The answer, of course, is Kawhi Leonard, whom the Raptors acquired in July for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a 2019 first-round pick.

Bovada has clearly read the many online stories about Leonard’s productive conversations with new head coach Nick Nurse, and seems to believe the two-time All-Star is in a healthy head space and ready to contribute.

MyBookie, meanwhile, isn’t so sure. They’re likely haunted by images of Leonard in street clothes on San Antonio’s bench, and are reminded of how the two-time Defensive Player of the Year chose to sit out the postseason despite being medically cleared to return.

Leonard’s reticence has led to much speculation, but what we do know for certain is that he passed his physical on July 24th and has been participating in high-level pick-up games ever since. Those who have seen him up close report that he’s regained his explosiveness and has been getting to the rim with ease.

For now, Leonard and the Raptors are ranked fifth among all NBA Championship contenders behind only the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, and Los Angeles Lakers.

Top 5 2019 NBA Championship Contenders

Team Bovada Odds
Golden State Warriors -195
Boston Celtics +500
Houston Rockets +850
Los Angeles Lakers +1000
Toronto Raptors +1400

It’s worth noting that Leonard won’t be the only new face on the Raptors this season. The club also acquired Danny Green from the Spurs and signed Greg Monroe and Kay Felder to free agent deals.

Like Leonard, Green was also hobbled in 2017-18, and played much of the season with a torn groin.  The injury limited his lateral movement and prevented him from playing the kind of hard-nosed, lockdown D that has made him so valuable over the years. If healthy, Green should help improve Toronto’s perimeter defense while providing a much-needed release valve on offense.

Monroe could also play a meaningful role in 2018-19 after spending the previous season with Milwaukee, Phoenix, and Boston. The 6’11” big man averaged 10.2 points and 6.3 rebounds in 26 games with the Celtics and has the size and skill to bully smaller defenders on the block. He’s no longer a starting caliber center given his precarious lack of mobility, but Monroe can provide plenty of value in limited spurts off the bench.

Felder, meanwhile, will compete for minutes in Toronto’s crowded back court. The 5’9″ dynamo has exceptional speed and vision, but should be viewed mostly as an insurance policy in case Lowry or Fred VanVleet go down for an extended period of time.

Be sure to check out our 2019 NBA Championship Odds Tracker throughout the year to see how Toronto’s fortunes fluctuate during the 2018-19 season.

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Ryan Murphy began his love affair with sports journalism at the age of nine when he wrote his first article about his little league baseball team. He has since authored his own column for Fox Sports, and now serves as SBD’s resident NBA and MLB expert.