Raptors Ready for Playoff Battle in Florida

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Toronto Raptors will be hoping they can go all the way for the second year running and be crowned NBA champions.

Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry

The 2020 NBA playoffs finally get underway this week, with 16 teams ready to compete for glory in Florida this autumn.

After the league was suspended in March, the NBA ordered the top 22 teams in the league to play an additional eight regular-season games to decide the playoff seeds.

This year’s games will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida and several teams will be confident they can shake up the Championship race.

Champions Raptors Ready to Stamp Their Authority

Toronto begin their quest for back-to-back titles when they take on the Brooklyn Nets.

The Raptors are as short as 4/21 to grab the victory on Monday night after winning seven of their last eight games.

The departure of Kawhi Leonard has not slowed the team down this year, with Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell stepping up to improve their team’s fortunes.

Toronto have become one of the best defensive teams in the league and they will be confident of overcoming the Nets, who have injury problems to deal with.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are long-term injury doubts, while Spencer Dinwiddie, Wilson Chandler, Nicolas Claxton, DeAndre Jordan and Taurean Prince also failed to travel to Florida.

Jazz Ready to Spring a Surprise

Monday’s first playoff game sees Utah Jazz take on Denver Nuggets and the former have a good chance of pulling off the upset at odds of 13/10.

The Jazz finished the season with a record of 3-5, but they benched some of their regular starters.

Bojan Bogdanovic’s absence will be crucial, but Denver’s team has less experience, and that could prove pivotal down the stretch.

Star centres Rudy Gobert and Nikola Jokic are due to face off in the series and whoever gets the better of that battle could guide their team to victory.

Monday’s other game sees the Bolton Celtics face the Philadelphia 76ers, with the latter 9/5 outsiders.

Doncic Needs to Be at His Best for Dallas

21-year-old superstar Luka Doncic will have tonnes of pressure on his shoulders when his Dallas Mavericks side face the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Clippers’ defence will be confident of handling him, but his recent displays suggest they may have their work cut out.

Los Angeles have had some selection issues during the last eight games and the Mavericks are worth considering at odds of 2/1.

Milwaukee Bucks are expected to cruise past Orlando Magic, while Miami Heat should have enough to overcome the Indiana Pacers in their playoff battle.

The Houston Rockets could have enough to battle past Oklahoma City Thunder, while the LA Lakers meet the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Blazers will certainly provide a stern test, but they should run out of steam and LA are the worthy favourites at odds of 20/51.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Tom offers a strong insight into football and rugby league, whilst also having a good knowledge of several other sports including boxing, horse racing and American Football.
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