Raptors trail pack on early 2021 NBA championship odds

Toronto Raptors' Pascal Siakam, left, defends against Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

An offseason of change could be in the works for the Toronto Raptors, who trail the favourites on the opening 2021 NBA championship odds as a +1600 wager at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

For a second straight season, the Raptors sat among the NBA’s elite. The club once again trailed only the Milwaukee Bucks with 53 wins, and remained a threat to repeat as NBA champions until running out of gas in a second-round series loss to the Boston Celtics. However, with key members of their 2019 championship team now set to become free agents, change could be in the air in Toronto with the Raptors’ title hopes hanging in the balance.

Among the players soon to hit the free agent market are center Marc Gasol, forward Serge Ibaka, and point guard Fred VanVleet. While rumours of Gasol’s imminent return to Spain persist, there is a possibility that VanVleet and Ibaka could remain in Toronto. However, Toronto must also keep pace with rapidly improving rivals in the Eastern Conference, most notably the Brooklyn Nets and the recent NBA finalist Miami Heat, who both currently sit ahead of the Raptors on the league futures at online betting sites.

In the wake of their first NBA championship win in a decade, the Los Angeles Lakers have emerged as early +400 favourites to repeat. Led by the dynamic duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers finished atop the Western Conference with 52 wins, and were dominant during a 16-5 SU playoff run.

The Los Angeles Clippers closely trail the Lakers as +450 second favourites, followed by the Bucks at +800 on those NBA odds, while the Golden State Warriors have opened as a strong +900 wager. The Warriors took a major step back this past season, finishing dead last in the NBA with just 15 wins. However, with the superstar duo of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry set to return after losing this past season to injury, the Warriors are expected to return to contention in 2021.

Eastern Conference finalists for a third time in four years this past season, the Boston Celtics sit at +1200, where they are joined by the Brooklyn Nets. Like the Warriors, the Nets are hoping to benefit from the return of a pair of injured superstars, with both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving expected to be at full health in time for next season.

Elsewhere on the 2021 NBA championship odds, the Heat sit just ahead of Toronto at +1400. The Denver Nuggets lag at +2000, followed by the Houston Rockets at +2200, while the Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks are deadlocked at +2500.

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