The Toronto Raptors coughed up home court advantage in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal matchup with the Brooklyn Nets, but stole it back with an impressive win in Game 4. Now, with just 50/1 odds of winning the NBA championship, they’re an intriguing bet with potential to advance to the second round. Game 5 is Wednesday.
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The clash of the upstart Raptors with the veteran Nets has added a unique twist to the NBA postseason. With so many juggernaut teams in contention (Heat, Spurs, Thunder, we’re looking at you), Toronto and Brooklyn represent two relative unknowns.
On one hand nobody expected the Raps to hang on to the top spot in the Atlantic Division; on the other, the Nets are a team comprised of fresh faces playing in a new market that?s still establishing their team?s culture.
If the underdog Raptors are to succeed over the final three games of the best-of-seven ? yes, underdog (Brooklyn has 20/1 odds on those same NBA futures) ? they’ll need swingman DeMar DeRozan to continue escalating his game. With his team in desperate need of a superstar, DeRozan has stepped up averaging 24.5 points per game through the first four.
Brooklyn’s fate lies in the hands of vets like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, two long-time Celtics with winning experience. The key cog who could push the Nets to their lofty expectations, however, may just be Deron Williams.
They may not be clear cut favorites to contend for a title, but don?t think that the Raptors and Nets aren’t still among the most interesting NBA betting options available.
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