Toronto Raptors Rebuilding; Ontario Sports Betting Futures Impact

Toronto Raptors Rebuilding; Ontario Sports Betting Futures Impact
By Mark Keast
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

Sunday night’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks was perhaps one of the best recent case studies on where the Toronto Raptors are heading as an organization, certainly for the foreseeable future. Anyone backing the team as an Ontario sports betting proposition will have noticed.

Going into the season, Toronto’s roster core was small forward and defensive whiz OG Anunoby, All-Star power forward Pascal Siakam and up-and-coming star SF Scottie Barnes.

The question was whether the Raptors would stick with that core, maybe tinker a bit, go for an NBA play-in tournament spot and see what they could pull off in the playoffs. Anunoby and Siakam were up for new contracts at the end of this season, so there were some rather massive financial considerations at play.

An interesting report by the Toronto Star a few weeks back shed some light on what the Raptors were thinking. After throwing their lot behind the No. 1 pick Barnes – see Scottie Barnes All-Star Game odds at before All-Star reserves are named on Thursday – there was management concern about a sophomore jinx. We saw a downturn in Barnes’ play last season after he won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year the previous season. What did they actually have in Barnes? They held onto Anunoby and Siakam so they could find out.

This season Barnes put away any doubts. He is averaging 35.2 minutes, 8.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.30 steals, 1.54 blocks, 20.3 points.

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Trades Change Toronto Raptors Drastically

But with the team out of a realistic playoff position at Christmas time for fans and customers at Ontario sportsbook appsthe Raptors pulled the trigger on their first big move and new direction – trading Anunoby, along with C Precious Achiuwa and PG Malachi Flynn to the New York Knicks. New York sent SG RJ Barrett, SG Immanuel Quickley and a first-round draft pick to Toronto.

Then, a few weeks back, the second hammer fell as Toronto dealt Siakam to the Indiana Pacers, in a three-team deal that netted the Raptors F Bruce Brown, F Jordan Nwora, G Kira Lewis Jr. and three first-round picks – two in 2024 and one in 2026.

Now Toronto Raptors playoff odds seem far-fetched, so the rest of this season is going to be about other things. The team is trying to get quality time for rookie G Gradey Dick and let the offence mesh around Barnes, Barrett and Quickley while the organization sees what it has in players such as Nwora. 

In Toronto’s 126-125 loss to the Hawks on Sunday, Dick had perhaps his best game of the season, with 15 points, including 3-for-5 in 3-point shooting. Nwora led Toronto’s reserves with 24 points (tying Barnes for the team high) in 31 minutes. 

The Hawks are tied for 10th in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, so they aren’t exactly setting the world on fire either (see our NBA Ontario betting guide for tips). Still, it was a great game, tight right down the buzzer. The Raptors were missing Barrett, Quickley and C Jakob Poeltl because of injuries but still fought. These types of games help the team lay down more tracks to help them get where they are going.

As Raptors team president Masai Ujiri said in a recent news conference, there are going to be growing pains over the short term as the team rebuilds.

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Raptors Future Draft Outlook

The Raptors own a top-six protected first round pick this summer – in the trade with the San Antonio Spurs for Poeltl last year, for a first-round pick, they were able to protect it for this upcoming draft if the Raptors finish in the bottom six of the league. And that’s exactly where they are going into Tuesday’s games – 25th overall, 1.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies. At NorthStar Bets Ontario Sportsbook, the Raptors are at +1000 odds to make the play-in tournament.

Do they go for that top-six pick? The issue heading up to the Feb. 8 trade deadline is Brown. There’s a lot of chatter about teams in the playoff hunt looking to add him. That could be yet another opportunity for the Raptors to add to the draft pick cupboard. The Raptors (16-30) play tonight at the Chicago Bulls (22-25) at 8 Eastern, televised in Canada on Sportsnet, continuing a six-game road trip. The Bulls are a 6-point favorite at NorthStar Bets.

Poeltl (ankle) is close to returning. Toronto really missed him in the paint against the Hawks. Quickley is dealing with a thigh contusion issue. Barrett had a knee injury, which kept him out of Sunday’s game. has all the information you seek before you place a wager, including new Ontario sportsbooks reviews.



Mark Keast

Mark Keast has recently covered the sports betting industry in Canada for The Parleh, and is a long-time sportswriter and editor, most notably with the Toronto Sun.

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