NBA playoff odds: betting preview for first-round series

The Toronto Raptors came into existence for the 1995-96 NBA season. The franchise has never reached the NBA Finals and just once the Eastern Conference Finals, losing in 2016 to LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. Then again, the Raptors never had been the East’s top seed before, either, but they are for the 2018 playoffs, which tip off this weekend.

Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com

Behind their All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors won a franchise-record 59 games to easily finish atop the East along with having the conference’s best point differential by a mile at plus-7.8. They will have home-court advantage against any team they would face in the postseason other than the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals.

The Raptors are +155 second-favorites in the East and -590 to win the first-round series against the No. 8 Washington Wizards (+485 on the series line). The teams split four regular-season meetings and have met just once in the postseason, a Washington first-round sweep in 2015.

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