With some time to kill over Christmas I put together a spreadsheet that calculates the Raptors' chance of winning a game based on how they have done so far at home and away against elite teams (.600 or over), poor teams (under .400) and average teams (.400 to .599). It also factors in back to backs by, for example, treating an elite team like an average team if the Raptors are playing them after the other team played the day before. If both teams are playing back to backs then no adjustment was made.
So, I ran the season simulation 10 times and the average record was 45 and 37. A pleasant surprise. I then ran it a few more times until it generated a 45-37 season so I could look at the results of individual games. We may be in for some interesting times ahead.
The January schedule starts out pretty rough with games against Boston, the Spurs, and the Magic but we do get Orlando after they have played the previous night. Nevertheless, they are Orlando and my sim gives them the win.
We continue to play just under .500 until mid-January but then the schedule turns in our favour. From Jan.22 to March 7 we play 13 home games and only 5 on the road. Only 3 of these 21 are against elite teams, all 3 of these are at home and 2 of them are after the other team plays the night before. In February alone we play half our games against teams that are playing us in the second of back-to-back games. In short, the Raptors should have a terrific run both before and after the all-star break.
After March 7 the schedule is not too much harder. In fact, not until April 6 when we hit Cleveland, Boston and Atlanta do we even face two consecutive games against elite teams. (Not counting Portland and Atlanta on March 14,17 because Atlanta is playing the 2nd of a back-to-back)
The bottom line? Just that its nice to have something approaching objective (unbiased) evidence for hoping that this season can be better than the dismal sub-.500ish thing it has been so far.