The NBA is currently on hiatus in the midst of the All-Star break, but the league never stays out of the news for too long. Shortly after the highest scoring All-Star Game of all-time concluded, longtime Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans for an underwhelming haul of players and draft picks.
Canada’s lone NBA team, the Toronto Raptors, are quietly lurking in the background right now. The Raps have been in a major slump of late, and they’ve slid down into fourth place in the Eastern Conference at 33-24 SU as a result. With the losses piling up, many people are starting to believe the Raps have lost their identity. I don’t think that’s true.
The Dinos are +300 to win the Atlantic Division for the fourth time in as many years. Toronto is currently four games behind the Boston Celtics in the division, but the +300 price looks like great value for hoops bettors.
Make no mistake: despite their recent struggles, this team is still elite. It seems like the Raptors have had a hole at the power forward spot since Chris Bosh departed the Great White North for South Beach in 2010, but general manager Masai Ujiri’s slick move to acquire Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic last week fills the void admirably.
With Ibaka in the fold, expect the Raps to make a late season charge up the standings. This team seems to suffer from a case of the February blues ever year before hitting their stride right before playoff time. Take the value and run.
Ready for some international baseball?
The fourth iteration of the World Baseball Classic is set to get underway on March 6, with 16 teams from five continents preparing to do battle for international baseball supremacy.
Canada has a +5000 price to emerge triumphant at the event – the 10th best odds on the board, above only Chinese Taipei, Australia, China, Colombia, Italy and Isreal. Canada’s 28-player roster features nine players who played Major League Baseball in 2016: Andrew Albers, John Axford, Kevin Chapman, Freddie Freeman, Jim Henderson, Adam Loewen, Dustin Molleken, Justin Morneau and Dalton Pompey.
Canada has never been known as an international baseball powerhouse, and they’ll be in tough to eclipse established teams like the United States, the Dominican Republic, Japan and Venezuela. Still, if you’re feeling patriotic and/or drinking maple syrup straight from the bottle, a shot on them to win would create a huge payout if they can raise some eyebrows this time around.
Canucks at the Honda Classic
The PGA Tour kicks off its Florida swing this weekend at the Honda Classic, and Graham DeLaet has the best chance to claim the hardware for those north of the border. DeLaet, who’s available at +7000, has been swinging a hot club of late. The Saskatchewan native finished in a tie for ninth at the Phoenix Open and a tie for 17th at the Genesis Open, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to once again see him near the top of the leaderboard this weekend.
David Hearn is the only other Canadian in the field but he’s a long shot at +30000. The 37-year-old has made the cut in just three of his last nine Tour appearances.