The Toronto Raptors are NBA champions after beating a depleted Golden State Warriors team in six games, but Las Vegas oddsmakers have the Los Angeles Lakers the favorites for next season.
Led by Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and longtime franchise star Kyle Lowry, the Raptors managed to fend off the two-time defending champs despite losing Kevin Durant to a ruptured Achilles, and then Klay Thompson in the third quarter to a torn ACL.
Klay was on fire prior to his injury. When he walked off the court on crutches eerily in the same manner as Durant did the game before, Thompson had 30 points on 8-12 shooting (4-6 3PT), and was a perfect 10-10 from the line.
The Warriors refused to give in despite the bad luck, the team relying on its five-year dynasty experience to stay in the game. But in the end, they were simply overmatched with a fully healthy Raptors squad hungry for the city and country’s first NBA title.
“I wanted to make history here,” said Leonard, who will become a free agent on June 30 and be the biggest prize of the offseason.
Heading into Game 6 following the loss of Durant, the series odds had the leading Raptors the favorites at -310 to win one of the final two games. They did, meaning bettors who put down $100 on that line netted $32.26.
Oddsmakers have a tall task ahead of them when it comes to NBA futures. Where Leonard will end up is unknown, though many believe he will depart Toronto for either the New Jersey Nets or New York Knicks – two teams preparing to offer max contracts.
Some viewed Kawhi’s interview with ESPN last night as a tip of his hat when he referred to the Raptors as “them” instead of “us.”
Bringing the organization their first championship. It’s just something that the Raptors could build on, that we all could build on. That was my goal. I wanted to get them to the Finals their first year,” Leonard stated.
Reading into a player’s word choice after six grueling NBA Finals games should be taken lightly. But with Durant likely to miss the entire year recovering from the Achilles injury, and Thompson expected to miss considerable time, the league’s top two teams have many questions in need of answers.
NBA odds for the 2019-20 season are shifting rapidly. After opening the Warriors as the favorites at 7/2, upon news of Thompson’s injury, the Westgate SuperBook greatly lengthened the team’s line to 14/1.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James – a team that didn’t even reach this year’s playoffs – have emerged as the odds-on favorites. LA’s line has shortened slightly from 5/1 to 9/2.
The Lakers are followed by the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers (6/1), Houston Rockets (8/1), and then it’s the defending champion Raptors at 10/1 rounding out the top five.
As trades come when the offseason officially tips off at the end of the month, the futures lines will adjust accordingly – making some of the ticket slips printed in the interim very appealing, and others, well, likely worthless.
The post Toronto Raptors Win NBA Finals, Los Angeles Lakers Favored for 2019-20 Season appeared first on Casino.org.