Raptors remain stalled on odds to win NBA championship

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) walks off the court. (Frank Gunn/CP)

The Toronto Raptors are heading into the all-star break atop the Eastern Conference standings, but their strong play of late has failed to elevate them on the odds to win the NBA Championship. Toronto sits back at +2200 on the title odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com

Toronto opened the campaign amid tempered expectations after getting swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in a second-round playoff matchup last spring. The Raptors were subsequently pegged as a long +5000 bet to claim their first-ever NBA championship, and have been slow to gain ground despite having a league-leading home record and boasting a high-powered offence that ranks third in the NBA in points per game.

However, with the Celtics and Cavaliers both enduring recent struggles, Toronto has vaulted to a strong +400 wager on the odds to win the Eastern Conference, well ahead of the +2000 odds it sported on opening night.

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Over in the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets have emerged as a real threat to Golden State’s dominance during their current tear and have been rewarded on the NBA championship odds, where they now trail only the Warriors as a +400 wager.

Like Toronto, the Rockets opened the season with much to prove after making early playoff exits in four of the past five years. However, with the NBA’s top scorer in James Harden leading the club’s attack, Houston owns the best record in the West against conference rivals, including outright victories as betting underdogs in two of three meetings with the Warriors.

Golden State continues to lead the way on the odds to win the 2018 NBA title, perched at -180, and has been a model of consistency this season, suffering consecutive SU losses on just one occasion according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

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A dismal 6-13 SU run by Cleveland, which started with a 99-92 Christmas Day loss at Golden State as 4.5-point underdogs, spurred the club to undertake a major roster overhaul at last week’s trade deadline. However, the Cavaliers’ woes have had little impact on their NBA futures odds, which remain at a steady +600.

The Celtics have been less fortunate. In addition to losing ground to the Raptors in the Eastern Conference standings, Boston has also slipped to a +1200 wager on the NBA championship odds, but remains a strong +225 bet to win the Eastern Conference.

The Oklahoma City Thunder follow at +2000, while the Minnesota Timberwolves have climbed to +3300, well ahead of the +6600 odds they sported in late December.

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