Playoff Round 1 - Raptors vs. Magic Prediction and Betting Odds
April 11, 2019
Toronto Raptors (58-24)
After losing to LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the playoffs for three consecutive seasons, no one was happier than the Toronto Raptors that he signed with the Lakers. Time for the Western Conference to deal with King James!
However, losing to Cleveland and James for three years in a row prompted the team to make a few radical changes. Despite winning Coach of the Year honors, the team fired head coach Dwane Casey. Then they traded away one of their primary players, DeMar DeRozan, for disgruntled San Antonio Spurs star, Kawhi Leonard.
82 games of practice is over.— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) April 10, 2019
Next up: Kawhi's first meaningful game as a Raptor. pic.twitter.com/hJc6iFcBmm
But so far, it appears that the gambles have worked. New head coach Nick Nurse has kept the team on track throughout the season. It remains to be seen if Leonard’s future is in Toronto. But for this season, he did help them become one of the better offensive and defensive teams in the NBA.
Barring any serious injuries, Toronto should have a good shot at making the conference finals this year.
Orlando Magic (42-40)
The Magic could have been left for dead a few times this season. But right when it appeared as if they were done, they would go on a short winning streak. They simply refused to go away. It didn’t help that they had a new head coach this season that was still working on getting to know what his roster could do.
However, when push came to shove, they had more highs than lows and managed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2012. To do so, they had to get on a roll for the last month of the season.
Entering March, they had a record of 29-34. They proceeded to go 13-6 including a six-game streak and a four-game one to close out the regular season.
Prediction: Orlando has the hot hand coming into their first-round series with Toronto, a team they beat twice during the regular season. But the Raptors are playing too well right now and will cool down the Magic’s hot hand.
Orlando will steal one game, but Toronto wins the series, 4-1.