Bet Which Will Happen First: Raptors Win Another NBA Finals or Canadian Team Wins Stanley Cup?

  • The Toronto Raptors overshadowed this year's Stanley Cup Final by claiming their first NBA championship
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, and Calgary Flames remain the best candidates to end Canada's 26-year Stanley Cup drought
  • With the Raptors' core poised to return intact next season, signing Kawhi Leonard to a new contract may be all that stands between Toronto and another NBA championship

Long-suffering Canadian sports fans got a taste of championship glory on Thursday night as the Toronto Raptors eked out a narrow 114-110 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to claim their first NBA Championship.

With all seven Canadian-based NHL teams already eliminated from this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, the Raptors’ march to the NBA Finals captivated the imagination of Canadians from coast-to-coast, largely overshadowing an entertaining Stanley Cup Final matchup between the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins.

Canadian hockey fans have been denied a Stanley Cup win since the Montreal Canadiens last raised Lord Stanley’s mug back in 1993. But despite having the core of this year’s championship-winning squad under contract for next season, and playoff hero Kawhi Leonard pegged as a heavy -175 favorite to sign a new deal with Toronto this summer, the Raptors are longshots to win another NBA title before a Canadian team wins another Stanley Cup, sporting +210 odds on the NBA specials at Bovada.

Odds the Raptors Win Another Title Before a Canadian Team Wins the Stanley Cup

What Will Happen First? Odds at
A Canadian Team Wins the Stanley Cup -320
The Toronto Raptors Win Another NBA Title +210

Early Playoff Exits Extend Canada's Stanley Cup Drought

Just three of Canada’s seven NHL clubs advanced to the NHL playoffs this season, with the Calgary Flames joining the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets. Both the Flames and Maple Leafs were perched among the favorites in Stanley Cup odds for much of the season, with Calgary emerging as the top seeded team in the NHL’s Western Conference.

For the second time in four years, not a single Canadian team advanced past the opening round, ensuring that the Stanley Cup would maintain a street address south of the border for yet another year.

As the season draws to a close, the Maple Leafs remain among the favorites on the 2020 Stanley Cup odds, pegged as a +1000 bet, well ahead of the Jets at +1600, and Calgary at +2000.

Leafs, Flames, Jets Face Hard Offseason Decisions

However, the top three Canadian teams each face serious challenges entering the offseason. The Maple Leafs face an imminent salary cap crunch as the contracts of rising stars Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen, and Andreas Johnsson are set to expire, which may force the club to take bold steps that could impact their long-term status as Cup contenders.

The Jets enjoy considerably more wiggle room under the cap, but are also faced with offseason contract negotiations with impending RFAs Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, and Jacob Trouba, while the Flames currently have no bona fide starting goaltender under contract, and should expect to get lofty contract demands from RFAs Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett.

All three clubs must also contend with the emergence of new contenders in their respective divisions, whom they must likely face in any Stanley Cup bid.

Rise of Emerging Contenders Complicate Stanley Cup Hopes

The Jets will likely find themselves battling it out in the toughest division in hockey next season. In addition to the newly anointed champion St. Louis Blues, the Colorado Avalanche are expected to contend in the Central Division, along with the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars.

The Flames share the Pacific Division with the Vegas Golden Knights, who have climbed to +800 second favorites on the Stanley Cup odds, as well as the perennially contending San Jose Sharks, and can expect to face a new threat from a rapidly improving Arizona Coyotes.

The Maple Leafs are unlikely to emerge as a legitimate Stanley Cup threat until they can escape the cloud of four straight first-round exits.

Over in the Atlantic Division, the Tampa Bay Lightning remain the class of the division despite this year’s playoff failure, and the Maple Leafs are unlikely to emerge as a legitimate Stanley Cup threat until they can escape the cloud of four straight first-round exits.

2020 NBA Championship Odds Tracker

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Raptors Hold Organizational Edge Over NBA Rivals

Of course, the Raptors face challenges of their own, most notably from a Milwaukee Bucks squad that is likely to gain from the experience of their crushing loss to Toronto in the Eastern Conference Finals.

However, unlike so many NBA squads that will seek quick fixes this summer by inking superstar free agents to max contracts, and then hoping for the best, the Raptors have many of the pieces already in place to make a legitimate run at a second straight NBA title. What will likely make or break the Raptors’ chances of building a dynasty, and beating Canadian NHL squads to another title will be whether they can keep Kawhi in the fold.

In the afterglow of Thursday’s victory, that’s a good bet.

Pick: The Toronto Raptors Win Another NBA Title (+210)

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