Betting Markets: Raptors, DeMar DeRozan Both Faring Well After Trade

Written By Jose Colorado on January 18, 2022 - Last Updated on March 31, 2022

Beloved, heralded or treasured.

However you want to describe it, DeMar DeRozan was that and more for the Toronto Raptors.

The Compton native spent nine years with the franchise and became the team’s all-time leading scorer.

But five years ago, Toronto sent DeRozan packing to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard (among others). It was cruel, abrupt and heart-wrenching for everyone involved.

Yet, in retrospect, oddsmakers are confirming today what many didn’t believe at the time.

It was the right move for both the Raptors and DeRozan.

Among NBA futures favourites

DeRozan and Raptors’ rookie Scottie Barnes (photo) are among the favourites to win a few major awards as the 2021-2022 NBA season hits the halfway point.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.’s Proline Plus sportsbook is the only legal sportsbook in Ontario. The province’s sports gaming market is expected to open in February or March.

Proline Plus is not offering futures bets on player awards.

But, for interest sake, Barnes is the second choice of FanDuel (+430; 5.30 in European odds), BetMGM Online Betting in Michigan (+400, 5.00), DraftKings (+300, 4.00) and Caesars Sportsbook in Michigan (+400, 5.00) in the rookie of the year race.

Meanwhile, now with the Chicago Bulls, DeRozan ranks seventh with the major operators in the NBA regular season MVP race. The odds he will be voted top dog are:

  • FanDuel (+3300, 34.00)
  • DraftKings (+3000, 31.00)
  • BetMGM MI (+3500, 36.00)
  • Caesars MI (+3000, 31.00)

How did a former Raptor star and an up-and-coming Toronto phenom end up vying for top NBA awards? Let’s look at the history.

DeRozan loved Toronto and it loved him

Many NBA players are loath to play in the league’s lone Canadian market.

DeRozan relished the opportunity and became a fan favourite.

Yet, the 2018 Leonard–DeRozan deal is the defining moment of the Raptors franchise thus far.

Leonard was coming off an injury-plagued season. He only played nine games the year prior, and the defensive-stopper had multiple reported issues with his club. “The Klaw” – while mild-mannered — was seen as a diva and troubled player at the time.

He was the antithesis of DeRozan.

But Leonard was talented. So much so that he brought an NBA championship to the Raptors in his only season (2018 – 2019) with the franchise.

Yet, the 2018 Leonard–DeRozan deal is the defining moment of the Raptors franchise thus far.

The Raptors secured an NBA championship but somewhat mortgaged the future in the process.

Odds the Raptors will win the East, take it all

Toronto has been spiralling the drain since winning the title and Leonard’s subsequent departure.

The Dinos haven’t made it past the postseason’s second round since the all-star left.

It missed the playoffs altogether last season with an abysmal 27-45 record.

The odds this year’s Raptors will win the Eastern Conference stand at:

  • Proline Plus (seventh overall, +1900, 20.00)
  • Caesars New York (12th overall, +8,000, 81.00)
  • DraftKings (10th overall, +8,000, 81.00)
  • BetMGM New York (11th overall, +6,500, 66.00)
  • FanDuel (9th overall, +6000, 61.00)

The odds Toronto will win the NBA Championship this year are:

  • Proline Plus (14th overall, +5400, 55.00)
  • FanDuel (19th overall, +13,000, 131.00)
  • BetMGM New York (20th overall, +15,000, 151.00)
  • DraftKings (21st overall, +25,000, 251.00)
  • Caesars New York (21st overall, +20,000, 201.00)

Barnes the future of the franchise

Though, it isn’t all bad news.

Because of Toronto’s recent struggles, the team has been able to dip into the NBA draft lottery. That landed the franchise the No. 4 pick in the 2021 draft. They used that selection on promising rookie Barnes who hasn’t disappointed.

Barnes averages about 15 points per game, eight rebounds and four assists. He has progressively gotten better as well. Barnes’ line movement (i.e., opening odds to current odds) has shifted from 800 – 300.

All major sportsbooks now have Barnes as the second choice to take the Rookie of the Year award.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ forward Evan Mobley is still the heavy favourite (-125). Barring injury, Mobley will most likely win the award.

Nonetheless, Raptors fans are excited to have Barnes to build around. He is among the best in his class.

DeRozan finds new level in Chicago

Meanwhile, DeRozan has found new life in Chicago.

The former Raptor toiled for years with the Spurs after being dealt by Toronto in 2018. DeRozan missed the playoffs two out of his three seasons while with the Spurs (2018 – 2021). For context, San Antonio hadn’t missed the playoffs since 1997 before DeRozan arrived in Texas.

That makes the all-star’s late-career renaissance all the more remarkable.

DeRozan has flourished and made a strong case for the MVP trophy in the Windy City.

Though, Stephen Curry (FanDuel +15,400, 155), Giannis Antetokounmpo (FanDuel +34,900, 350) and Nikola Jokic (FanDuel +59,900, 600) are all considerably ahead in the MVP race.

But DeRozan will garner some votes.

That in of itself is a remarkable feat.

Chicago in title contention; sits first in East

Detractors of DeRozan ridiculed the mid-range assassin for years for his inability to play on the big stage. Yet, he has flourished under the microscope of a big market.

Perhaps more importantly than the MVP, oddsmakers have respect for the Bulls’ title aspiration.

The odds of the Bulls winning this year’s title are:

  • Proline Plus (8th overall, +1900, 20.00)
  • BetMGM New York (8th overall, +2500, 26.00)
  • DraftKings (9th overall, +2200, 23.00)
  • FanDuel (8th overall, +2100, 22.00)
  • Caesars New York (9th overall, +2200, 23.00)

Some NBA fans may think even that is a little low.

Assuredly, oddsmakers must be waiting for the franchise to prove itself a bit more in the second half of the season.

Chicago has been one of the big surprise stories of the year thus far.

Few – if any — sportsbooks had them amongst the best to begin the NBA campaign.

Indeed, a Chicago title run could make for some sweet redemption for one of Toronto’s most beloved sports figures.

Canadian NBA fans to have more sports betting options in months to follow

This NBA campaign has provided basketball fans with many exciting stories on which to bet.

Luckily for those who wish to wager, BetMGM, FanDuel, Caesars, DraftKings and more will soon be official sports betting operators in Canada.

That is after Ontario’s free competitive market comes to launch in the months to follow.

Items such as player props will then be available to the Canadian market.

Canadians will be able to bet on exciting props such as:

  • Who will score the first field goal?
  • First field goal and win
  • Over/under on individual stat lines (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks etc.)

That contrasts Proline Plus’ offerings where player props are not available. PlayOntario colleague Dave Briggs detailed the shortcomings of this in a previous post.

Photo by Lynne Sladky / Associated Press
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Jose Colorado

Jose Colorado is a British Columbia-based writer. He lives in Burnaby and loves sports, anime, writing, business, and the occasional walk on the beach.

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