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April 22, 2018

There is one NBA pick today. 

Take Toronto Raptors -2 spread against Washington Wizards for 3% of the bankroll.

The Raptors are a legitimate contender this year! Those that haven’t yet realized that, will soon. They’ve already proven many doubters wrong but there are still a group of people that haven’t seen enough from the Canadian team over the course of the season and are judging them based on previous years’ shortcomings. We fully expect Dwane Casey’s well-balanced team to silence all doubters. 

Toronto finished as the #1 seed in the Eastern conference for good reason. They were four games ahead of #2 seed Celtics and finished a full 9 games above preseason-favorites Cleveland Cavaliers! They won the East with relative ease and have their sights set on post-season glory. They aren’t satisfied with simply being in the playoffs like they were in years past. Anything short of a conference championship is a failure this year and they believe they have a legitimate chance of making it to the NBA Finals. We don’t disagree. This is their best team in franchise history and we could see them going to the Finals and potentially winning it all! It wouldn’t surprise us as much as it would most others. 

The Washington Wizards, on the other hand, are a talented and therefore dangerous squad but one that ultimately is not built for a championship run. The reason? A lack of chemistry. Among the playoff teams, they have had the most disharmony within their group! They’re not as cohesive a bunch as many of their competitors. And so while talent is not a problem for them and they have it in abundance, talent can only take you so far when you don’t play as a group. John Wall is a mega-talent but he can also be quite selfish and he’s not alone. It’s no secret that there is a bit of animosity between him and some of the Wizards and despite putting on a unified front when the cameras are on, it’s been documented that he and Bradley Beal, for example, have had their fair share of disagreements over the years and don’t always see eye-to-eye. The two worked excellently together in Game 3 but that was out of necessity having dropped the first two games of the series! We’re not saying they can’t play well together again, they could and probably will but the fact remains that this Washington squad has some issues in the locker room and there has been finger-pointing and blaming in the past among the group! That type of psychological turmoil and lack of cohesion all but eliminates any chance of them being a legit contender and makes them one of the weakest playoff teams, despite their talent level.

The Raptors are the complete opposite in the sense that they may on paper, not even have the same level of talent as the Wizards when compared man to man and yet as a group, they are without a doubt superior. Their bench is the best example of that as their second unit led the NBA in a number of important categories and yet most casual fans had barely heard of the vast majority of these guys! Unfortunately for Toronto, they are missing Fred VanVleet who’s been a key cog for them as a ball-handler off the bench and that is perhaps one reason this series has been closer than it could have been but with or without him, they are the better team and their record over the season proves it. Given how chippy things got in Game 3, we believe the Raptors will respond tonight and bounce back from a rare defeat. They had taken care of business in the first two games of the series and have what it takes to steal one on the road. Back the better team at this short spread as they head back home north of the border with a 3-1 lead in the series.

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