With the start of the NBA regular season less than three weeks away the Toronto Raptors are adjusting to life in their temporary home of Tampa Bay. Forced to relocate due to continued cross-border travel restrictions related to the ongoing pandemic, the Raptors will play home games at Amalie Arena until further notice.
However, with a COVID-19 vaccine looking increasingly likely to roll out at some point in 2021, the odds of the Raptors playing at least one home game in Toronto this season sit at a short -250 in NBA props betting at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
But faced with the prospect of living out of hotels for the entirety of the NBA season, the Raptors have taken a step back on the NBA odds.
Victorious in 53 games last season, second most in the NBA, the Raptors’ win total for the upcoming season sits at just 43.5. Toronto remains a -360 favourite to return to the NBA playoffs for an eighth straight season, but their temporary exile from Scotiabank Arena and recent offseason moves have raised questions. While the team locked up Fred VanVleet with a lucrative four-year contract, the departures of Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol suggest the team is undergoing a changing of the guard.
Those concerns extend to team president Masai Ujiri, who has been in demand around the league since leading Toronto to a championship and sports -110 odds of resigning his position with the Raptors before next season’s NBA playoffs.
Indeed, if the Raptors fall out of postseason contention during their upcoming nomadic campaign, Kyle Lowry’s future with the team could also be in question. The heart and soul of the Raptors since his arrival in Toronto eight years ago, Lowry played a crucial role in the team’s march to an NBA title in 2019. But with Lowry turning 35 in March, and entering the final year of a contract that will pay him $30 million, he is listed as a +250 wager at online betting sites to not finish the season as a member of the Raptors.
While a slow start could place Lowry’s future in question, Drake’s position with the Raptors appears to be eternal. The Toronto-born hip hop star has served as the team’s global ambassador since 2013, and has become a familiar presence around the franchise both on and off the hardwood.
That is not expected to change, even as the global pandemic rages, with the musician sporting -850 odds to take his familiar seat at courtside for at least one Raptors game in the season ahead.