At this point, the Toronto Raptors are exactly where they want to be.
If the season ended today Toronto would have seventh-best lottery odds and a 31.9% chance at landing a top-four pick. Right now that's about as good as things can get for the Raptors considering there's a five-game gap between their record and Orlando, Cleveland, and Oklahoma City who sit in a three-way tie for fourth in the lottery standings. But the next five games are going to be crucial for the Raptors if they want to stay in that spot.
That's what makes Saturday night's game against the Memphis Grizzlies so important. Toronto is doing everything it can to lose. Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher, and Paul Watson Jr. are all out with injury or rest and the Raptors are fairly heavy underdogs against a mediocre Memphis team.
The betting line initially opened at -4.5 for Memphis but has moved up to -5.5, suggesting the Raptors have about a 35% chance of pulling off the upset, according to Covers.
If Toronto can lose Saturday's game, it'll move 1.5 games ahead of the Bulls for that seventh spot and give the Raptors a little bit more wiggle room in the lottery standings. Right now things are very tight with the Raptors, Bulls, and Sacramento Kings all separated by just two games. If Toronto wins a few too many of its final five games, those lottery odds could easily drop from 31.9% all the way down to 20.3% for a top-four pick.