The Toronto Raptors bounced back from two losses in Los Angeles in early March with a 3-1 stretch that included a win over the Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets.
The latest: Toronto was expected to be a seller at the trade deadline but the team surprised the basketball world by holding onto its core and acquiring Jakob Poeltl. The Raptors' push for the playoffs is on, but if they're able to make the postseason it will likely come via the play-in.
Here are the latest Raptors playoff odds as of March 20.
Raptors playoff odds
Check out the latest Raptors playoff and play-in odds. Click linked odds to add selection to your betslip.
|Raptors to make the playoffs||+115|
|Raptors to make the play-in||-5,000|
NBA odds as of 12:22 p.m. on 03/20/2023.
Where the Raptors stand
The Raptors secured two much-needed wins against the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder, but they'll still face an uphill battle. The bunched-up Eastern Conference standings have the Raptors in ninth — sitting one game ahead of the Chicago Bulls.
Toronto is within a half-game of the Atlanta Hawks for the eighth spot and is 3.5 games behind the No. 7-seeded Miami Heat.
Placing seventh or eighth would give the Raptors the chance to shoot through the play-in tournament with a single win or get another chance with a loss.
Reaching the playoffs from the ninth or 10th seed is a taller task requiring two consecutive wins, at least one of which would have to come on the road against a team with a better record.
At the moment, it's tough to imagine the Raptors stealing a top-six spot. They're 4.5 games behind the Brooklyn Nets with three teams to leapfrog. Bridging that gap wouldn't be impossible, but it would take plenty of breaks in Toronto's favour.
The Raptors' schedule
There is good news for Raptors fans regarding the team's remaining schedule.
After facing plenty of tough opponents in March, Toronto has an average remaining strength of schedule — coming in at 14th according to Tankathon.com.
The Raptors' opponents have a combined .504 winning percentage, which, for a frame of reference, is approximately what the Dallas Mavericks have produced this season (.507).
Some of the Raptors' biggest rivals are also facing more difficult finishing stretches.
Atlanta has the sixth-hardest schedule in the NBA by opponents' winning percentage (.521) from here on out while the Bulls sit 10th (.512).
Raptors playoff odds: Rival watch
Toronto has to be aware of the Hawks, Heat and Bulls.
Splitting two games with the Washington Wizards between March 2 and March 4 kept both teams in a dogfight, but Washington has fallen off a cliff since then.
The Bulls have been a mess despite their collection of offensive talent, including ex-Raptor DeMar DeRozan, but they've turned it on defensively of late.
Luckily for the Raptors, they added at the deadline while most of their rivals stood pat. The Hawks brought a solid 3-and-D man aboard in Saddiq Bey, but Miami and Chicago were quiet. The biggest news coming out of Chicago recently was Lonzo Ball undergoing yet another surgery.
The presence of the play-in likely prevented the teams around the Raptors from being sellers. Unfortunately for Toronto, that means the team's counterintuitive push for a playoff spot won't be made easier by teams around them getting worse.
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