The Toronto Raptors kicked off 2022 with a bang, overcoming an outbreak of COVID-19 to start the year with six straight wins. The club’s surge returned them to the NBA Eastern Conference playoff picture. But the question remains, for how long? Losers of five of their next seven, the Raptors open the week pegged as a lengthy 2.70 bet at Sports Interaction on the odds to make the NBA playoffs. Here’s a look at what lies ahead for the Raptors, and where they offer the most value on the NBA futures as the second half of the season gets underway.
CanadianBettingSites takes a look at all the best bets ahead of this key early-season matchup. Sports bettors looking to get in on NBA action for the first time can check out our free betting guides and tools to learn all they need to know about NBA betting in Canada.
Raptors Show Character in New Year Rebound
Unfazed by their struggles to get past a coronavirus outbreak, and the subsequent return of government regulations that have them playing home games in an empty building until further notice, the Toronto Raptors deserve enormous credit for their recent six-game win streak. After eking out just three wins in the final 13 games of November, Toronto has nowhere to go but up. And despite the health challenges, and a tough stretch of schedule, the Raptors answered the call.
Pascal Siakam scored 20 points, OG Anunoby had 19 and Fred VanVleet added 18 points and 12 assists for the Raptors, who have lost four of five following a six-game winning streak that marked their longest of the seasonhttps://t.co/W5AxT6Tc4M
— CBC Sports (@cbcsports) January 20, 2022
With their fast start to the New Year, the Raptors lifted their team record over .500 for the first time since early November. And even though their recent surge did not survive a five-game, eight-day road trip that ended this past weekend, the club finds themselves still clinging to ninth place in the conference as the week begins.
Improved Road Performance Key to Success
While their continued presence in the playoff hunt adds value to their lengthy 2.70 odds to claim a playoff spot, the Raptors still face a huge challenge in fulfilling that promise. Top at the list of issues to address is the club’s recent struggles on the road. The Raptors struggled to generate offence while losing three times on last week’s road trip, averaging just 99.2 points per game. Overall, the club sports a dismal 6-10 SU record over their past 16 away dates.
The Raptors might be unusual insiders but they’re not afraid to go there.
Toronto has been working on getting more scoring from its half-court offence. https://t.co/BQ2nkVHvYu
— Toronto Star (@TorontoStar) January 23, 2022
And with 21 of their final 38 scheduled contests coming on the road, they must find a way to reverse that trend if they remain in the playoff hunt. Toronto faces a particularly tough grind between now and March 21, with 19 of their next 28 games scheduled for the road including 13 road dates against teams currently possessing a playoff spot.
the raptors when they see a road game on the schedule: pic.twitter.com/iBYgUp3xKG
— alex (@steven_lebron) November 16, 2021
Also of concern is the uncertainty as to when the Raptors will be able to welcome fans back into their home at Scotiabank Arena. Toronto has gone 5-2 SU in seven home contests in front of few or no fans since the end of December. The Ontario government recently provided a glimmer of hope with their announced plans to allow 50% capacity at Scotiabank Arena as of February 21.
I understand there is nothing the Raptors could have done, but I think it is extremely unfair that they have to play in an empty arena while other teams are at 100% capacity.
This really has a huge impact on the rest of the season and their ability to win home games.
— Brett Siegel (@BrettSiegelNBA) January 24, 2022
Not surprisingly, the Raptors have continued to fade on the NBA championship odds, where they now lag at a distant 130.00. They also lag as a long 30.00 wager to overcome their current six-game deficit and reclaim their once familiar perch atop the Atlantic Division standings.
Barnes Still in the Hunt for Top Rookie Honours
Loyal sports bettors looking to cash in on the Raptors in NBA futures betting are likely to find their best chances of success on the NBA Rookie of the Year odds. Selected by Toronto with the fourth overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft, Scottie Barnes has maintained the momentum gained from an impressive pro debut. Barnes trailed the favourites on the NBA rookie odds just prior to Christmas, when he lagged as a 4.00 wager. And after missing time due to COVID-19, the 20-year-old struggled to regain his impressive form. Indeed, the Raptors enjoyed a torrid start to 2022 despite seeing their prized rookie average just over nine points per game through his first six outings.
Have a season, Scottie Barnes.
— NoleGameday (@TheNoleGameday) January 24, 2022
However, Barnes has shown signs of a turnaround during Toronto’s recent road trip. That was most notable in Friday’s 109-105 win in Washington, where he led all Raptors shooters with a career-best 27 points. Still sporting 4.00 odds to win top rookie honours as January winds down, Barnes continues to trail the favourite Evan Mobley.
Here are 60 seconds of Evan Mobley being an alien pic.twitter.com/aKrSdXswIv
— Tony Pesta (@Tony_Pesta) January 8, 2022
Selected by Cleveland one spot ahead of Barnes at third overall, Mobley has played a mammoth role in the Cavaliers’ return to respectability. The 20-year-old is averaging 15 points and 8.1 rebounds to date. Should both Mobley and the Cavs maintain their current impressive pace, it is tough seeing anyone else earning Rookie of the Year honours. But with a half-season still to play, Barnes remains worthy of a value wager.
Best Bet: Scottie Barnes to win Rookie of the Year (4.00) at Online Betting
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