The New Jersey Nets started the season as a prohibitive favorite to win the NBA championship or to at least represent the Eastern Conference, but things have changed. The Nets have struggled to get a good seed in the playoffs and they have fallen hard down the stretch.
The Toronto Raptors on the other hand have been the team to beat in the Eastern Conference and as they enter the playoffs they are still underrated. They have been one of the best teams in the league this year, yet many sportsbooks still consider them an underdog in this series against the veteran laden Nets.
The season that the Raptors have put together deserves a second look. Toronto hasn’t been to the postseason since 2008, yet it won a franchise-record 48 games en route to earning home-court advantage. The theme involving both teams surrounds age and experience, making both squads perfect adversaries in Round 1. Yet the Raptors are being overlooked and are considered by many to be an easy speed bump for the Nets.
The latest basketball betting trends show exactly how dangerous the Raptors are. The Raptors are 4-0-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last 5 games playing on 2 days rest, 17-4-1 ATS in their last 22 games following a straight up loss and 16-7 ATS in their last 23 games when they go up against a team with a winning straight up record. The Nets are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 road games, 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games against a team from the NBA Atlantic and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
There is more to this game that meets the eye. Storylines abound in this matchup, including the Nets seemingly tanking their way into a matchup with the Raptors as opposed to the Bulls, and Raptors coach Dwane Casey squaring off with a player he coached in Jason Kidd. The most interesting angle, though, might be the age discrepancy. The veteran-laden Nets boast plenty of postseason experience, while the Raptors’ starting five features three playoff rookies. Can Toronto’s youth and enthusiasm overcome Brooklyn’s experience and wisdom? That is something that will be decided on the court.
In game one the Raptors are listed as (-2.5) point favorites. The Nets are not getting the public love as the betting action favors the Raptors by a score of 66%. So although the public has yet to chime in the early betting money is on the Raptors.
The Raptors are still trying to prove that they belong in the playoffs and it all starts with a big win against the Nets in game one. The Raptors win game one in blowout fashion as they announce to the world that they are serious contenders.
NBA Playoffs Picks: Toronto Raptors -2.5
Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.