It’s set to be a grand summer of sport for Canada! With Canadian teams set to appear in the playoffs of the NBA and NHL, there’s no doubt that these colossal sporting events will see many Canadian dollars placed on the outcomes of the games and tournaments. But, while we await the playoffs to begin, and are held in suspense between games, there are also plenty of games to indulge in.
So, here’s what to expect and enjoy around the NHL and NBA in the coming months.
Maple Leafs and Jets representing
Photo: Maple Leafs Report, via Twitter
The recent history of Canada in the NHL postseason has been a volatile one over the last few seasons. 2016 saw zero Canadian teams make it to the playoffs, but in 2017, five burst through. This year, the Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs are set to represent the Great White North in the playoffs.
With Toronto a strong contender to finish third in the Atlantic Division and the Winnipeg Jets looking set to finish second in the Central Division, the two teams in Canada enter the playoffs in good standing. However, in the odds, the two have massive hurdles to overcome if they are to get to the Stanley Cup finals.
On Winnipeg’s Western side, the Vegas Golden Knights and Nashville Predators are favoured ahead of the Jets – both in prime position to win their divisions. In the Eastern Conference, Toronto sits behind many top contenders, like the dominant Tampa Bay Lightning, the Boston Bruins, and the team tipped by many betting tipsters to go for the three-peat, Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Maple Leafs and the Jets come into the playoffs with youthful teams that are brimming with talent. According to the sports betting tips from canadiansportsbetting.ca, Toronto was expected to make it to the playoffs this season, and remain at similar odds to win the Stanley Cup. They’re not favourites, but are certainly a dark horse, as is Winnipeg.
While you wait for the puck to drop for the playoffs, there are many incredible games to be enjoyed that feature all of your favourite NHL stars. One such game is, of course, NHL 18. On this EA game, you can play as the Maple Leafs, Jets, or any other team in the league. But, best of all, the rosters and player ratings have been updated throughout the season, meaning that you can play as an up to date version of your favourite team.
Raptors ready to tear it up in the playoffs
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) March 21, 2018
Source: Yahoo Sports NBA, via Twitter
The Toronto Raptors have been a dominant force throughout this season. Having notched 54 wins from 73 games, Canada’s only NBA team has dominated the Eastern Conference and were the first to clinch a playoff spot in 2017-18.
The Raptors will most likely finish quite a few wins clear atop their conference. But, if they’re to go all the way and win the NBA championship, they’ll have to deal with the league’s superpowers from the Western Conference. Both the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets are favoured over the Raptors in the betting, as are the Cleveland Cavaliers in the east.
The Raptors have been knocked out of the postseason by the Cavs in both of the last two years, but there’s a feeling around the Toronto camp that a shift in power has occurred, and that they could well get to and win in the Conference Finals.
As for enjoying some basketball action in the running to the playoffs, and indeed during, you could turn to the best basketball game on the market, NBA 2K18. Still seen as the frontrunner ahead of EA’s NBA Live 18, 2K18 offers players the most realistic video game version of basketball as well as the chance to play as all of your favourite stars.
It’s going to be a huge summer of sports in Canada with three strong teams involved in the NHL and NBA playoffs. The Maple Leafs, Jets, and Raptors are all strong enough to push deep into their respective postseasons; and are expected to do so.