New Orleans Pelicans vs Toronto Raptors Predictions, Odds & Picks
- The New Orleans Pelicans are all in on their youth movement with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram leading the way!
- Pascal Siakam looks to improve from his awful 2020 NBA Playoff performance as they kick-off their new season in their temporary home of Tamp Bay.
- The Raptors have dominated the all-time series against the Pelicans 25-14.
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Pelicans vs Raptors Odds
|Team||Point Spread||Total||Money Line|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+5 -110||O -109||+160|
|Toronto Raptors||-5 -112||U -112||-200|
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Pelicans vs Raptors Predictions and Picks
This will be a closer matchup than many expect, but we still expect the Toronto Raptors to come out as the winner. With a fast-paced offense and one of the league’s toughest defenses, the Raptors look to outclass the young Pelicans.
Toronto Raptors to Win (-200)
How to Watch Pelicans vs Raptors
|New Orleans Pelicans vs Toronto Raptors Information|
|What||New Orleans Pelicans vs Toronto Raptors|
|Where||Amalie Arena, Tampa Bay, Florida|
|When||Wednesday, 23 December 2020; 7:30 PM EST|
|How to Watch||TSN, Fox Sports New Orleans|
Head-to-Head: Pelicans vs Raptors
|New Orleans Pelicans||Head-to-Head||Toronto Raptors|
|Alvin Gentry||Head Coach||Nick Nurse|
|30-42 (13th in West, 21st Overall)||Standing||53-19 (2nd in East, 2nd Overall)|
|110.7 (17th of 30)||Off Rtg||111.1 (14th of 30)|
|111.9 (19th of 30)||Def Rtg||105.0 (2nd of 30)|
|103.7 (2nd of 30)||Pace||100.9 (12 of 30)|
Leaders (Per Game)
|B. Ingram (23.8)||PPG||P. Siakam (22.9)|
|D. Favors (9.8)||RPG||S. Ibaka (8.2)|
|L. Ball (7.0)||APG||K. Lowry (7.5)|
|J. Holiday (1.6)||SPG||F. Vanvleet (1.9)|
|Favors/Hayes (0.9)||BPG||C. Boucher (1.0)|
|J. Hayes (.672)/Z. Williamson (8.8)||FG%/FGM||P. Watson (.526)/P. Siakam (8.3)|
|S. Thornwell (.500)/J. Redick (3.0)||3P%/3PM||M. Thomas (.475)/K. Lowry (2.8)|
Does New Orleans Have the Right Roster Balance?
Last year’s New Orleans Pelicans team was certainly talented, but they lacked in specific areas of the court that left them exposed against the more capable offensive teams in the NBA. With the acquisition of Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams, the Pelicans have covered their two main points of concern.
Bledsoe will take over at the point guard position for Jrue Holiday and will be asked to distribute and defend the opposing teams’ strongest playmaker. Adams on the other hand will relieve Williamson’s burden on the boards and open up capable shooters Redick and Ingram for better opportunities.
There is still pressure on a young trio of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Zion Williamson to put it all together. They’ll need to overcome one of the league’s best defenses, so the youthful three will need to show maturity rather than try to get by on their physical talents as they have in the past.
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Will Toronto’s Lack of Size Hurt Them?
The Toronto Raptors should not be underestimated. Filled with young yet experienced talent, the Raptors are still one of the strongest teams in the NBA. However, the loss of both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka will hurt them in the paint.
While they signed Aron Baynes and Alex Len to fill the void, head coach Nick Nurse tends to favor smaller lineups. When Toronto runs the likes of Siakam, Anunoby, and Boucher in the frontcourt, they struggle on the glass – a place where the Pelicans can take advantage.
The Raptors will need a group rebounding effort in order to take down the Pelicans. New Orleans’ gritty frontcourt of Ingram, Williamson, and Adams will give any NBA team trouble, but it will be up to the Raptors guards and reserves to make up the difference to claim victory.
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Pelicans Key Player: (G) Lonzo Ball
Lonzo Ball hasn’t lived up to his potential at this point in his carer. The former second overall pick was expected to come in and set the league alight, but his lack of offensive versatility and disinterest on the defensive end has hindered him.
Ball improved on his three-point shooting last year but still sits at 34.1% for his career. His strength still lies in his playmaking, as he averages 6.6 assists per game for his career to only 2.7 turnovers.
The question will be seeing how he fares playing beside Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe is also a poor shooter and is most valuable in attacking the rim with the ball in his hands. With tough defenders Kyle Lowry, Fred Vanvleet, and Norman Powell in Toronto’s backcourt, Ball enters the 20-21 season with a tough test.
Raptors Key Player: (F) OG Anunoby
The new $72 million men will be asked to take the next step in his career with the Toronto Raptors. Already a capable three-and-D threat, Anunoby will have to become more of a scoring threat for the Raptors to succeed.
However, Anunoby’s first talent and priority is on the defensive side of the ball. At 6’7 and 232 lbs, Anunoby is one of the few players that can challenge, not match, Zion Williamson in the strength and athleticism department.
Playing efficiently as an inside-outside threat, while also sorting out his ball-handling issues, will be crucial to the Raptors success. Expect him to cover multiple Pelicans players through the game, but focus most on All-Star Brandon Ingram.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]