The Toronto Raptors will meet up with the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night for the second time already, though it’s early in this NBA season. The two teams played in the season opener, but this game will get started at 7:30 p.m. ET at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The Raptors will be looking for revenge as New Orleans earned the victory in the season opener back on Dec. 23. That took place in Toronto’s 2020-21 “home” court at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, where they’re playing due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Toronto has gotten off to a bit of a slow start this season, coming into this game with a 1-3 record, while New Orleans checks in at 3-2 so far, early on in the year.
As we get closer to tipoff, let’s take a closer look at Saturday night’s matchup along with a betting preview for the game.
Last time out
The Raptors started the year 0-3 but got the best of the New York Knicks by a score of 100-83 on Dec. 31 at home. Toronto closed out 2020 with some big-time performances to get the first win of the year. Fred VanVleet scored a game-high 25 points on 9 of 19 shooting from the floor, including 4 of 9 from the three-point line. He also had a game-high seven assists with five rebounds.
Kyle Lowry added 20 points with four 3-pointers, seven rebounds and four assists. Norman Powell scored 17 points on 7 of 13 shooting with four rebounds in the victory.
Pascal Siakam did not play in this game, and head coach Nick Nurse said it was for an “internal matter,” declining to go into more detail. Siakam is expected to return to the lineup against the Pelicans.
As for New Orleans, the Pelicans also won their matchup on New Year’s Eve when they blew out the Oklahoma City Thunder 113-80. All five starters finished in double digits. Brandon Ingram led the Pelicans with 20 points, and Lonzo Ball finished with 16 points with nine assists and eight rebounds. Steven Adams scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Eric Bledsoe added 17 points, while Zion Williamson scored 12.
Raptors-Pelicans Betting Preview
Toronto should have a little momentum after getting its first victory of the season and having Siakam back on the floor. Here’s a look at the betting odds for Saturday night’s game along with some of the betting history — though note the small sample size, since it’s just the start of the season.
All odds are via a popular United States sportsbook.
For the fourth time in five games, Toronto is listed as the favorite in this game, as the oddsmakers set the Raptors favored by one point. The Raptors are 1-3 against the spread and straight up this season. Their first cover came against the Knicks as eight-point favorites.
While New Orleans is 3-2 straight up, it is 2-3 against the spread. The Pelicans are 1-2 against the spread and straight up when coming in as the underdog.
The over/under for this game is set at 215, and Toronto games have finished with less points than oddsmakers expected, as under cashed in three of the Raptors’ four games. New Orleans hit the under in all five of its games so far this season.
As expected since the Raptors are favored by just one point, they are not significant favorites on the moneyline. Toronto has -114 odds to win straight up, and New Orleans has -106 odds to pull off the slight upset.
One of the more interesting props is how oddsmakers expect Siakam to respond after sitting out the last game. He is expected to have the most points of any Raptor player, according to those who set these player props. Bettors can place wagers on how many points he will score on Saturday night, and the number is set at 19.5.