The New Orleans Pelicans open the Zion Williamson era with a trip to the Scotiabank Arena on 10/22/19 and a showdown with the reigning NBA champions Toronto Raptors.

Basketball Zion Era Begins

And so it begins. The New Orleans Pelicans drafted 18-year old college freshman sensation Zion Williamson with the #1 overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft. Williamson was one of the most hyped collegiate players ever. With his otherworldly athleticism and brute strength, Williamson captured the imagination of an entire nation. Now he gets the opportunity to prove himself on the biggest stage.

With Williamson as their new centerpiece, the Pelicans finally traded Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers getting a good return for the Brow in Brandon Ingran, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart. The Pelicans also signed veteran sharpshooter J.J. Redick to shore up their long ball attack and added forward Derrick Favors from the Utah Jazz to solidify their frontline. The Pels also drafted big man Jaxson Hayes who turned heads during the Summer League with exciting and athletic plays. With plenty of talent and hype, the Pelicans are one of the fancied teams heading to the 2019-20 season.

Basketball Bye Kawhi

The Toronto Raptors had their best season ever last year after the team won it all last season. The Raptors started their title quest by trading DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs for the troubled Kawhi Leonard. Leonard would go on to have a terrific season and he would lead the Raptors to the NBA title, beating the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals and dethroning the injury-riddled Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals. After becoming the first team from outside the United States to win an NBA title, the Raptors celebration was short lived after Leonard left for the Los Angeles Clippers.

With Leonard gone, the Raptors essentially traded DeRozan for a championship ring. They didn’t do much in the offseason except add Stanley Jonhson and Rondae Hollis Jefferson. But the good news is that aside from losing Kawhi, which is a huge loss, they have kept the core of their title team. Marc Gasol returns after winning the FIBA World Cup for Spain and last year’s Most Improved Player winner Pascal Siakam will carry a heavier load without Leonard. Toronto will also see super-sub Fred Van Vleet back as well as veteran guard Kyle Lowry. The return of OG Anunoby from injury and the expected improvement of Norman Powell should help Toronto this season.

Basketball Who Wins?

New Orleans is 3-13 SU in their last 16 games played and the Pelicans are 0-7 SU in their last seven games against the Atlantic Division. Toronto is 8-2 SU in their last 10 games played, 15-5 SU in their last 20 games against Western Conference teams and the Raptors are 12-4 SU in their last 16 games played at home. Head to head, the Raptors are 7-3 SU in their last 10 meetings. The moneyline odds aren’t out yet but the Raptors are the NBA betting favorites here.

You have to like what New Orleans did after Anthony Davis requested for a trade. They have filled their roster with some of the most talented young players in the league. But for all the hype, I think that it will take some time for this team to produce results. Ingram and Ball are coming off season-ending injuries and while they’ve looked good in practice, I’m not sure if they can go full throttle from day one. Williamson is also expected to adjust to playing against bigger guys so I think there will be a period of adjustment early in the season. As for Toronto, they may have lost their best player but they’ve kept their core and are still at least a playoff team with their current roster. Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam are going to be a handful for the Pelicans. I think Toronto starts their title defense with a win at home. Prediction: Toronto Raptors

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Basketball Other Bets To Make

The Pelicans are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games played and 0-6 ATS in their last six games against teams from the Eastern Conference. The Raptors are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games played and Toronto is 5-0 ATS in their last five Tuesday games. Head to head, the Raptors are 13-5-1 ATS in their last 19 games against the Pelicans but New Orleans is 4-1 ATS in their last five road games versus Toronto.

What are the Moneyline Odds?


+5.5 (-110)


-5.5 (-110)

Odds were taken from Mybookie as of 9/25/19

The Raptors have beaten the Pelicans by an average of over six points per game in their last 10 games played and 5.33 points per game in their last three meetings. I think the Pelicans are loaded with talent but I don’t expect them to jell right away. Toronto has the experience and talent to beat the Pelicans. I think that playing at home will give them enough push to win by at least six points and cover the spread. Prediction: Raptors -5.5

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The total has gone over in five out of the last seven games played by the Pelicans. The total has also gone over in four out of their last five games played on the road. The over is 5-2 in New Orleans’ last seven October games played.The total has gone over in nine out of the last 11 games of Toronto against Southwest Division teams and also over in seven out of their last eight October games played. Head to head, the total has gone over in seven out of the last 10 meetings between these two teams.

These teams have combined to score 211 points per game in their last 10 meetings and 236 points per game in their last three meetings. This is a different matchup without Anthony Davis for New Orleans and Kawhi Leonard for Toronto. The totals aren’t up yet but given the talent on both sides of the court, I like the teams to go over 220 points in this game.

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