2016-2017 NBA Previews – Raptors Odds
Looking for 2016 Toronto Raptors Predictions? We’ve got your back. The 2015-16 season belonged to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Toronto Raptors did their best to prove they were legitimate challengers out East. They went 56-26, finished second in the Eastern Conference (just one game back from the Cavs) and pushed Cleveland to six games in the conference finals.
Toronto Raptors Season Preview
Head Coach: Dwane Casey
2015-16 Record: 56-26
Raptors Odds to NBA Title: +4000
Raptors Odds to Win Conference: +1400
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In the end, it was James and Co. that conquered the conference and ultimately took home the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Toronto enters the 2016-17 campaign at +4000 to win a title, per Bovada — the sixth-best odds in the NBA and third-best odds out East.
Toronto Raptors Strengths:
Success for this team starts with the backcourt — that much was clear watching the 2015 postseason, as there was a clear correlation between how well Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan played and how well the team as a whole performed.
Last season, Lowry and DeRozan combined for 44.7 points per contest. They were 14th and 10th in the league in scoring, respectively.
Star power aside, this team has excellent depth. Jonas Valanciunas is a center with potential to someday be an All-Star, and his backup, while unproven, is rookie center Jakob Poeltl with both size and skill on his side. Time will tell how effective Poeltl is at the NBA level, but he projects to be a solid rotation member right out of the gate.
On the perimeter, DeMarre Carroll is a lockdown defender who should be much improved following a campaign that was underwhelming thanks to injuries.
His backup, Terrence Ross, is a valuable member of the rotation who will step right in if Carroll ends up on the sidelines at any point throughout the year.
Cory Joseph and Jared Sullinger are quality backups as well, giving this team plenty of depth to work with as it competes for a No. 1 seed.
Toronto Raptors Weaknesses:
Every Eastern Conference team not named the Cleveland Cavaliers has one monumental weakness: not having LeBron James.
James-led teams have made six straight NBA Finals, but let’s focus on factors the Raptors can actually control.
As good as players such as Lowry and DeRozan are, the Raptors’ offense has a tendency to get stagnant.
There’s not much creativity when it comes to Dwane Casey’s schemes, which explains why the team’s success comes and goes based on how well the guards play.
Sticking with the backcourt, DeRozan is an old school shooting guard. He’s not much of a threat from the three-point line, which helps further explain why the offense often has difficulty creating new ways to score.
This team also struggles to score out in transition, which in today’s fast-paced NBA means they’re starting to fall behind the times.
One way to enhance the offense would be to utilize Valanciunas on that end of the floor. He has the skills to produce, but the team has yet to incorporate him into the offensive strategy on a regular basis.
Toronto Raptors Betting Prediction: 50-32
The Raptors have a lot going for them, but they’re going to be a popular pick this season when it comes to teams that will regress.
This is because A) It can be argued this squad overachieved a bit last season, and B) the Boston Celtics have a strong chance of filling the East’s No. 2 slot behind LeBron and the Cavs.
Vegas has set the over-under for this team at 49.5 this season, and over seems safe. By how much is the real question.
A 50-win season doesn’t seem out of the question, and even a 51- or 52-win campaign could be in the cards. Expect Toronto to compete for a top-three seed this season.
2016 NBA Gambling
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