| October 19, 2021, 4:02 PM
October 19, 2021, 4:02 PM
The Toronto Raptors will make their regular-season return to Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday night when they open their 2021-22 schedule against the Washington Wizards as 2.5-point favourites on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Hampered by pandemic-related restrictions the Raptors were forced to take up temporary residence at Tampa Bay’s Amalie Arena for all of last season, and will be making their first regular-season appearance in Toronto since February 2020 when they hit the hardwood for Wednesday night’s matchup with the Wizards.
The Raptors’ temporary exile did little to help the team as they fell out of playoff contention last season. Straight-up losers in 10 of their final 11 outings, including five straight home defeats, the team finished last season with a 27-45 record, leaving them outside the Eastern playoff picture for the first time since 2013. And while their return home is expected to help them improve on last season’s disappointing finish, they tip off their schedule amid tempered expectations as a +250 wager to return to postseason play at online sports betting sites.
Indeed, the Raptors face a number of challenges going into the new season. Wednesday’s contest marks the beginning of the post-Kyle Lowry era in Toronto. The team must also make do without Pascal Siakam, who continues to recover from offseason shoulder surgery. However, Siakam’s absence creates opportunities for both OG Anunoby and rookie Scottie Barnes.
Anunoby enjoyed increased responsibility in the wake of Norman Powell’s departure ahead of last season’s trade deadline, and has emerged as a strong +1400 wager on the odds to claim the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. Selected by the Raptors with the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Barnes impressed during Summer League play, and makes his pro debut sporting a line of +1200 on the NBA Rookie of the Year odds.
The Raptors also enjoy a favourable matchup to open the new season. The team has won outright in 10 of its last 11 meetings with the Wizards, and has also knocked off Washington in eight straight dates at Scotiabank Arena. However, Toronto dropped a slim 131-129 decision to the Wizards in their most recent clash at Amalie Arena back in May. The team has also struggled to reward bettors in recent meetings with the Wizards, posting just two against-the-spread wins in their past seven matchups.
The Wizards also face the challenge of overcoming last season’s disappointment as they open their schedule as +120 underdogs on the moneyline for Wednesday. Washington sported the second worst road record among playoff-bound teams last year, and is a +550 underdog to return to the postseason in the season ahead