The Raptors have never won the East before, yet oddsmakers like Toronto to finally make the NBA Finals this year.
Despite rumors swirling about what teams will have a shot to land Anthony Davis before the NBA trade deadline, the Toronto Raptors are small favorites to win the Eastern Conference at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Toronto has never won the East, getting as far as the 2016 conference finals before falling to the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. The Raptors made an aggressive trade this past offseason, picking up Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs in a swap for DeMar DeRozan, which has worked out for both teams.
Leonard will become a free agent this summer and has been reportedly linked to his hometown of Los Angeles, with Davis possibly headed to the Lakers after telling the New Orleans Pelicans that he does not plan to sign a long-term extension with them.
Regardless, the Boston Celtics are right behind Toronto at +200 to win the East followed by Milwaukee at +325. The Celtics cannot complete a trade for Davis before the trade deadline because they acquired Kyrie Irving in 2017, so they will just have to hope any deals for him fall through before July 1 when they can get a shot at acquiring him.
As currently constructed, Boston's depth is better than any team in the conference, giving the city a serious championship contender in the third straight major sport after MLB and NFL with the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots, respectively.
However, the Bucks are also a serious player thanks to the play of MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo and head coach Mike Budenholzer, who is a top contender for a postseason award as well. Milwaukee leads the league in point differential with the best combo of offense and defense. The question is whether or not the Bucks have enough experience to push the Celtics and Raptors in a best-of-seven playoff series.
One more team worth mentioning is the Philadelphia 76ers at +400 to win the East. The 76ers are seemingly better with the addition of veteran swingman Jimmy Butler, but it remains to be seen if they can stay healthy enough overall to beat the best teams. The Indiana Pacers looked like a nice sleeper pick too before they saw leading scorer Victor Oladipo go down with a season-ending knee injury. The Pacers are now +3000.