The New Orleans Pelicans open the season against the defending champions, the Toronto Raptors, without the Pelicans’ star rookie, Zion Williamson.
The New Orleans Pelicans are embarking on a new era of the franchise that starts tonight that fans are exceptionally excited for. The Pelicans underwent one of the quickest turnarounds from trading a star player that we have seen in recent memory.
Of course, they still have to prove it on the court, but the Pelicans are not going to go through a period where they are one of the worst teams in the league. The front office did a wonderful job of maximizing the assets with several trades for Anthony Davis and could better this year as a result.
It helps that the team got lucky in the new NBA lottery format and were gifted the first overall pick with the seventh-best odds. There was no better year to get lucky, as Zion Williamson was the coveted prize as the most anticipated rookie since LeBron James.
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Unfortunately, we are going to have to wait to see Zion in regular-season action for quite some time as the team announced on Monday that he underwent surgery on a torn meniscus and would be out 6-8 weeks, which puts his return right around Christmas time.
It is really a shame as Zion looked spectacular in the preseason and already looked like he was here to stay.
The Pelicans still have a really good roster around Zion that can pick up the slack. It is going to take several players stepping up and performing with more pressure, but they absolutely have the talent to do so.
The first test of whether or not the Pelicans can stay alive during this injury comes in the Toronto Raptors, the 2019 NBA Champions who already look like a shell of their former selves without Kawhi Leonard.
It is still really hard for me to resist betting on the New Orleans Pelicans. According to the Action Network, the Pelicans enter this game as seven-point underdogs. The over-under for the game is 230.
While the Action Network is not a gambling service, if I were to find myself in Las Vegas (I actually will be in Vegas this weekend for work) it would be near-impossible to convince me to not bet New Orleans +7.
I mean, c’mon, this is a team that went undefeated in the preseason. Granted, preseason games do not matter in the grand scheme of things, but what we saw in those preseason games does and we saw a group of young, playmaking athletes that can make it happen for the Pelicans.
I also think the Raptors are getting a little bit too much credit. While they were good without Kawhi Leonard last season, they are still a much worse team without him. The home-court advantage does make a difference, but not as big of a difference as it does in baseball or football, in my opinion.
Personally, if I was making this line I would make it four points in the Raptors’ favor. I think this is a game that the Pelicans really have a chance of winning outright, with the seven points being an added bonus is the Raptors hit a buzzer-beater winner or ice the game with a three to go up four or five points.
I am really bad with basketball over-unders so I would take this with a grain of salt but I like the under in this game as well. Toronto does not have that star that is going to go off for 40. They averaged 114 a game and allowed 108 a game last season with Leonard.
I don’t see either team scoring over 110 in this game. Whether it is the New Orleans Pelicans or Toronto Raptors, I see the final margin being somewhere around 109-105.