Never is it more apparent than from the end of the regular season to the start of the playoffs that the national pastime of Canada is worrying about our basketball team. No matter the team, no matter the opponent, no matter the seed, Raptors fans love to express about their uneasiness towards the playoffs, and why shouldn’t they? Losing Game 1 to inferior teams and the Raptors is the greatest duo in sports, right next to Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam.
The Raptors first round opponent, in the eyes of many, is not the 1 vs. 8 cakewalk that Raptors fans had hoped for. Given the do-or-die stakes of these particular playoffs as a one seed, the stakes are only higher, and thus, so is the sense of concern amongst fans for round one. Most fanbases express apprehension about their team going into the playoffs, but few get a New Yorker piece written about it.
But if the odds from the good folks down in Golden Knight territory is any indication, then have no fear, Raps fans.
#NBA odds to win each first round series
Raptors -675 v Wizards +450
Celtics -145 v Bucks +115
76ers -400 v Heat +310
Cavs -505 v Pacers +365
Rockets -1300 v T’Wolves +700
Dubs -550 v Spurs +400
Jazz +105 v Thunder -135
Rip City -180 v Pelicans +150 pic.twitter.com/yCyA1blLZF
— 5Dimes Sportsbook (@5Dimes) April 12, 2018
Vegas Sportsbook 5Dimes puts the line at -675 for the Raptors against the Wiz, making them the second biggest favourite in each of the eight series, aside from the 65-win Rockets. While the Raps sit pretty at the top of the eastern betting favourites, they are remarkably trailed by not only the Cavaliers, but the defending-champ Warriors. Yes, Vegas predicts that a Raptors first round loss is less likely than either LeBron James, owner of seven straight Eastern Conference titles, bowing out right away, or the (albiet banged-up) superteam Warriors being eliminated by David Bertans and company.
As much as it seems unfortunate to have drawn a team with two all-star caliber guards in the first round, remember that these aren’t your uncle’s Raptors. Don’t worry about whether team A should’ve beaten team B or team C on the last day of the regular season for the Raptors to have drawn a more “favourable” matchup in Milwaukee or Miami. This is a team that should be able to dispose of anybody that comes their way in the first round. The Wizards are a longshot, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
Have faith. Because Vegas does.