The Toronto Raptors have limped out of the gate to start the 2021-22 season with a 1-3 overall record and against the spread. The lone highlight came Oct. 22 in a 115-83 win at Boston as seven-point road dogs.
Toronto’s team win total was set at 35.5 to start this season. Last year, the Raptors finished with a record of 27-45 in Nick Nurse’s third season as head coach. Let’s examine how to currently bet the team win total and analyze futures odds on division, conference, and league props.
Why The Raptors Are Potential Underdog Bets
It’s important to remember that due to the pandemic, the Raptors were forced to play their “home” games in Tampa Bay last year. COVID also impacted the team’s starting lineup on multiple occasions.
Nobody can predict the future, of course, but being back home at ScotiaBank Arena and having fans in attendance should provide a spark.
The Raptors drafted electric guard/forward Scottie Barnes with the fourth overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. The All-ACC performer from Florida State scored 12 points in the team’s home opener against the Washington Wizards. He’s seeing some strong early production, averaging over 34 minutes and 16.8 points per game.
The trio of Fred Van Vleet, OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam represents a solid nucleus to build around. All three played pivotal roles in the Raptors’ run to an NBA championship in 2019. Siakam, who led the team in scoring with 21.4 points per game last year, is recovering from shoulder surgery but should return to the lineup next month.
Value may continue to rise with the team if they struggle without Siakam early on and the Atlantic Division starts out competitive. The New York Knicks have jumped out to a quick 2-1 record. Public bets have already been favorable toward contenders like the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, and Boston Celtics.
Reasons The Raptors Are Longshots For Winning
Longtime leader Kyle Lowry left Toronto in free agency to join the Miami Heat. Lowry, who spent nine seasons with the Raptors, was a key component to Toronto’s success. The NBA veteran served as a floor general and steadying presence for the Raptors. He led the team in assists last year despite only playing 46 games.
Veteran point guard Goran Dragic and talented forward Precious Achiuwa came to Toronto as part of the trade for Lowry. It remains to be seen how quickly this group of newcomers (including Barnes) will mesh with the veterans mentioned. There’s a case that things could get a little worse in this start for the Raptors.
If that happens, the win total will likely continue to drop at DraftKings. From the season-opening total, it has fallen slightly to 34.5 wins. The early schedule also doesn’t bode well for the team, playing 11 road games compared to 3 home contests between Oct. 30 and Nov. 26.
Sports Betting Recommendation
- Over 34.5 wins (+105, DraftKings)
- Avoid Raptors on various team futures
Throw out last year’s record. It can be argued that Toronto was affected more by COVID-19 than any other team in the league. The Raptors are a long way away from winning another NBA championship, so it’s not worth taking them at the extravagant odds price (+6000 on PROLINE+, +25000 at DraftKings).
With a strong Atlantic Division inside a tough Eastern Conference, it’s also not worth taking the Raptors at any longshot odds to win. It’s hard to imagine seeing them finish above teams like the Brooklyn Nets or Milwaukee Bucks at this point. There will be plenty of games to make up if the slow start continues.
Over the first four games, the team is near the bottom of the Eastern Conference and struggles offensively. But they feature one of the better scoring defenses and allow just 98.8 points per game. That actually makes for a positive early point differential.
They also still have a top-tier coach in Nick Nurse. After a slow start to the season without the lynchpin Lowry running the offense and with Siakam on the sideline, Nurse will create cohesion for a team that ultimately goes over this modest win total. Currently set at 34.5 wins, there’s some early value in taking the over for double the money. Bettors may consider letting the slow start continue to get more value as long as Siakam sits out.
Unfortunately, no current sportsbook in Canada features wagering on win totals. This prop is available on DraftKings Sportsbook where available.