The Toronto Raptors did not get much face time on SportsCenter Tuesday evening. If not for the belated news about Kawhi Leonard’s lawsuit against Nike, they might not even merit a mention.
Has any NBA Finals competitor ever been this summarily dismissed?
Klay Thompson is questionable for Wednesday’s Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Kevin Durant is out and Kevon Looney is done for the season. Andre Iguodala will play at less than 100 percent, and Quinn Cook figures to be an X factor again.
The Raptors? They are at full strength, yet are 4.5-point underdogs at FanDuel Sportsbook for Game 3. They are getting about as much respect this June as J.R. Smith was getting last June.
The injury factor
After practice Tuesday, Kyle Lowry was asked about the injuries piling up for the Warriors:
“I think we come into a sense of urgency, period. No matter the situation,” Lowry responded. “We want to be the first to four, and every game is an urgent game. You’re in the NBA Finals, so it doesn’t matter.”
Urgency in a Game 3 should be self-evident, and it is safe to say that there is probably more of a sense of urgency for Toronto given that the Raptors have surrendered home-court advantage.
But one win gets it back, and the safest thing that can be said about this series as the clock counts down to Wednesday night’s Game 3 is this: As far as gambling lines and SportsCenter mentions are concerned, the Raptors are getting a lot less respect than they deserve.
What should be done with that premise? Make it pay … especially if you believe the Raptors are being undervalued.
What does this mean for wagering opportunities?
It means that true believers in the Raptors need to take advantage of the opportunities that are out there. And let’s face it, Toronto is still a damn good team that won Game 1 handily and was in a one-possession game at the end of Game 2 until Iguodala hit his dagger 3-pointer with 7 seconds left to turn a two-point game into a five-point game.
So for fans of “The North,” here’s what’s available in legal betting markets:
- Pascal Siakam is all the way back to 50-1 to be the Finals MVP after dropping to 7-1 heading into Game 2. Lest anyone forget, Siakam was the undisputed star of Game 1 with his 32 points on 14-for-17 shooting.
- Kyle Lowry is 150-1 at FanDuel to win Finals MVP. Lowry is a five-time All-Star who could have been a difference-maker at the end of Game 2 if he had not fouled out during the fourth quarter, turning Fred VanVleet into much more than “an important guy off the bench.”
- The Raptors are 17-1 at FanDuel and 16-1 at DraftKings Sportsbook to win the next three games and close out the series in Game 5 when the series moves back to Toronto.
- If you think Kyle Lowry can score 20 or more points and the Raptors will win, you can get that at 13-1 on FanDuel Sportsbook. If you think Lowry will record a triple-double and Toronto will win, that is on the board at 95-1 at FanDuel. Steph Curry to get a triple-double is 55-1.
- Serge Ibaka to have the most rebounds of any player is 33-1 at DraftKings SportsBook, and DeMarcus Cousins is 25-1 to have the most assists. Granted, those are longshots — but neither is beyond the realm of possibility given the injury factor that will impact this game so significantly.