Raptors trail favourites on NBA Eastern Conference odds

Toronto Raptors' Fred VanVleet, left, and OG Anunoby. (Ashley Landis/Pool via AP)

Winners in 10 of their past 15 contests, the Toronto Raptors find themselves in a tight battle for fourth place in the NBA's Eastern Conference standings, but they trail the top favourites on the odds to win the conference title at +1700 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com

Faced with the real possibility of missing the NBA playoffs for the first time in eight years after opening their abbreviated schedule on a worrisome 2-8 straight-up run, the Raptors have turned things around. Toronto has won outright in 15 of 24 contests since then, and entered the week knotted with the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat in fifth place in the conference, just a half-game back of the surprising New York Knicks.

A current outbreak of COVID-19 forced the postponement of the Raptors' weekend matchup with the Chicago Bulls, and threatens this week's scheduled dates with Detroit and the Celtics. However, with the league's all-star break set to begin this weekend, affected players and staff should have ample time to recover before the unofficial start of the second half of the campaign begins late next week.

The top of the Eastern Conference odds at sports betting sites has the Brooklyn Nets as the +120 favourite, with the Milwaukee Bucks next at +350, and the Philadelphia 76ers at +450.

The Nets saw an eight-game SU win streak come to an end in a 115-98 loss to Dallas as 1-point home favourites over the weekend. Brooklyn has also been dogged by a rash of injuries to key personnel, including Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but has managed to remain in the race with the Bucks and the Sixers atop the conference standings.

The Bucks have maintained their odds on the strength of a current five-game SU win streak. Overall, it has been a streaky campaign for the Bucks, who preceded their current tear with a five-game SU slide. That also extends to the sportsbooks, where Milwaukee has alternated between lengthy against-the-spread winning and losing streaks over the past month.

The Celtics sit next at +1100 on those NBA odds, and they have struggled to produce steady results with their current two-game SU win streak marking their only consecutive victories during a worrisome 7-11 SU run. The Heat, at +1200, have come alive with wins in 10 of their last 13 contests after opening the campaign on a dismal 7-14 SU run. The Knicks, meanwhile, are well back at +15000 on those betting futures despite their respectable results this season.

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