So I’ll admit this blog post was initially intended to talk about how difficult the Toronto Raptors’ schedule has been to this point and how their early-season struggles may be a bit misleading. When teams aren’t as bad as they appear, it can lead to some point spread value (inflated odds) that you can captalize on as a bettor in the future.
Doesn’t it seem like every time you tune in to watch the Raptors, they’re on the road? Sure seemed like it to me. As I write this, they’re getting tuned in Utah by 30 points, well on their way to their ninth road loss in a row.
But, while it’s true the Raps have played 13 of their first 20 games on the road, they haven’t exactly been facing world-beaters every night. In fact, according to Basketballreference.com, they’ve played the seventh-easiest schedule in the league so far.
Toronto has yet to face the Heat, the Lakers, the Knicks, the Clippers or the Bulls. The Raptors have played the Thunder, Spurs, Grizzlies and Nuggets just once each. Meanwhile, they’ve played the Pacers twice (including their lone road win of the season), the Sixers twice, the Magic, the Pistons, the Bobcats, the Suns, the Rockets and the Kings — not exactly Murderer’s Row.
The point of all this? The Raptors ARE as bad as they appear to be, a 4-16 team that still struggles to score efficiently (ranking 25th in the league in field goal percentage), rebound (23rd) and get defensive stops (28th in points against per game).
In fact, maybe they’re worse than they’ve appeared. This team was expected to be better this year, with oddsmakers setting a season win total over/under at 32. About the best thing we can say about the Raptors so far is that they’re 9-11 against the spread. That, or Andrea Bargnani still looks damn good eating pasta in those classic Primo commercials.
If you can’t help but keep betting on our loveable (well, maybe not) losers, you might want to wait until they’re back at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto is 4-3 ATS at home this year and just 5-8 on the road.
The Raptors won’t be back at home unti visiting the Clippers Sunday and Trail Blazers Monday. They’ll then play at the ACC for five of their next six, starting with a Wednesday date against the Nets.