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Pelicans +240 Underdogs in Toronto as Raptors Raise Banner on Opening Night

Pascal Siakam leads the Raptors
Pascal Siakam will be the Raps focal point this season. Photo by Chensiyuan (Wiki Commons) [CCLicense]
  • The New Orleans Pelicans and Toronto Raptors tip off the NBA season on Tuesday (Oct. 22, 8 PM ET)
  • The Pelicans are +240 underdogs against the defending champs
  • #1 pick Zion Williamson underwent knee surgery Monday and will miss 6-8 weeks

The NBA schedule makers didn’t do the New Orleans Pelicans any favors. New Orleans travels to Toronto as heavy underdogs on Opening Night (Tuesday, Oct. 22, 8 PM ET), and will have to sit and watch the Raptors receive their rings and raise the franchise’s first championship banner.

Pelicans vs Raptors Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Over/Under
New Orleans Pelicans +240 +7.0 (-110) Over 231.0 (-110)
Toronto Raptors -290 -7.0 (-110) Under 231.0 (-110)

All odds taken 10/21/19.

Our Pelicans vs Raptors odds show New Orleans opened as 5-point underdogs and are currently getting 7 points. They’re +240 on the moneyline and found out Monday they’ll be without number one pick Zion Williamson for the foreseeable future.

The New Look Pelicans

Zion’s injury aside, this year’s Pelicans team will look nothing like the 2018-19 version. Anthony Davis left for Hollywood, Julius Randle is in NYC and Jrue Holiday is the only returning starter from a season ago.

The addition of Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram gives them more athleticism, and JJ Redick’s outside shooting will drastically improve their 24th ranked 3-point field goal percentage.

New Orleans will lean heavily on Holiday and for good reason. They were 14 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court than off the court last season, making him one of the most valuable players at the guard position. He was one of only five players to average at least 20 points and 7 assists per game and is a former all-defensive first team selection.

Those defensive skills will be in demand Tuesday, as the Pelicans will need him to slow down Kyle Lowry, who will be counted on for more offense now that Kawhi Leonard is gone.

The Champs are Here

As much as Leonard’s absence hurts, the Raptors are still expected to be very competitive this season. Yes, Danny Green is also gone, but the rest of the key pieces of last season’s championship team are in tact and big things are expected from Pascal Siakam.

He averaged 19.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists in the NBA Finals and carried the offense in some of the series most important moments. He’s a big reason why Toronto was able to go 17-5 without Leonard last season, and along with Marc Gasol and OG Anunoby he forms one of the best defensive front courts in the East.

The trio will make life miserable for the Pelicans up front, forcing New Orleans to beat them from the outside. As mentioned, Redick will certainly improve the Pelicans efficiency from 3, but Toronto is one of the league’s best teams at defending the outside shot.

They ranked top ten last season in opponent’s 3-point field goal percentage and held some of the NBA’s premier shooting teams to below 33% from 3 during their championship run.

Roll With the Raptors

This is an impossible spot for the Pelicans and no one should be surprised if they get blown out on Opening Night. It’s tough enough playing in Toronto on a random night in the middle of the regular season, but the atmosphere on Tuesday is going to be out of control.

The banner will be raised, the rings will be presented and the Raptors will lock down the New Orleans offense.

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