Pelicans-Raptors Betting Guide: Can New Orleans Cover the High Number?

Pelicans-Raptors Betting Guide: Can New Orleans Cover the High Number? article feature image

Photo credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Anthony Davis and Serge Ibaka

Betting odds: New Orleans Pelicans at Toronto Raptors

  • Spread: Raptors -9.5
  • Over/Under: 232
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: NBA TV

>> All odds as of 11 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets

The 6-6 New Orleans Pelicans, dealing with injuries and questionable statuses of two starters, will visit the dominant 12-1 Toronto Raptors. The spread is Raptors -9.5, but is it high enough? Our analysts discuss.

Locky: Why I’m Betting the Raptors Tonight

The Raptors are already a team whose profile is incredibly difficult to poke holes in. Yes, in games in which Kawhi Leonard has rested or sat out with a minor injury, they are easier to beat (the Wizards almost beat them in such a spot early this season).

But when Kawhi plays? Good luck. The Raptors are top five in almost all important metrics, and they play with a consistency that’s truly admirable despite shifting personnel in the offseason.

Still, they have some minor weaknesses. For one, they give up a lot of offensive rebounds. Per Cleaning the Glass, opponents rebound 29.5% of their misses against Toronto, a very high number that puts the Raptors 27th in the league.

Next, Toronto doesn’t shoot particularly well from 3 and doesn’t guard the 3-point line at a better-than-average level. The Raptors’ rankings in a variety of 3-point metrics on offense AND defense are squarely in the middle third of the league. In the one game they lost — to Milwaukee in a game in which Giannis and Kawhi both did not play, by the way — the Bucks made 19 3’s and shot 42% from beyond the arc.

Can New Orleans accomplish any of these strategies, though? Are they built to do so? Not really. Aside from E’Twaun Moore, the Pels don’t have an elite 3-point shooter, and they don’t take a particularly high volume of their shots from 3 either.

Nikola Mirotic and Elfrid Payton, who are both very important pieces, are questionable. Interestingly enough, Mirotic is one of the few Pelicans who takes a lot of his shots from 3 (he hasn’t been shooting amazingly this season, but he still spaces the floor).

On the offensive glass, though, New Orleans could create problems. The Pels are eighth in offensive rebound rate, and particularly in the halfcourt they are lethal at rebounding their own misses and getting putbacks (among the best in the league). Their guards (Payton being one) are particularly good at this. I don’t play a lot of player props, but rebound stats for their guards, who ARE definitely playing, would seemingly be an advantage play based on pace (projected possessions) and opponent.

As for the game, though, that one Pelicans advantage is going to be tough to make up for all that Toronto does well. The Raptors are among the best in the league scoring at the rim and from short mid-range shots — two things the Pelicans do NOT defend well at all. Toronto takes a lot of corner 3’s; New Orleans is awful at defending that, too.

In the half court, the Raptors should be able to clamp down more on what the Pels want to do, and as long as offensive rebounding isn’t so egregious that it completely swings the game, Toronto has an advantage in basically all other areas. If Mirotic or Payton are declared out, and with Toronto in neither a bad rest or travel spot, I would play the Raptors at 9.5, and up to 10-12 if both injured starters are out. — Ken Barkley

Moore: A Case for the Pelicans

This is about the time when I start looking at win profiles. Who do you beat, who do you lose to, etc. The Pelicans beat the pants off the Rockets in the opener and looked like a juggernaut, except we’ve come to learn Houston’s been a mess since the start of the season and are only now pulling out of it. They beat a decent Clippers team and fattened up against the feisty-but-beatable Kings, the Nets, the Suns and the Bulls.

So, it ain’t great. They’re 25th in defense and sixth in offense; that’s an alarming sign. They surrendered over 130 points three times this season — to the Warriors, Jazz (?!) and Blazers. So teams with good offensive schemes have torn them to pieces. Toronto definitely fits that category, and their win profile is just a gigantic “$$$” sign.

That said, the Raptors’ profile suggests, as Locky indicated above, that there are some weaknesses hidden in their gaudy numbers. Toronto’s a great team, but I can’t lay 9.5 with anyone vs. Anthony Davis when he’s the best player in the matchup and when the Pelicans are capable of being halfway decent. This should be a complete shootout and a Raptors win, but I like the Pelicans to slide in under single digits in a loss. — Matt Moore

Betting Trends to Know

When you are struggling in the NBA, there is nothing like facing the Suns and Bulls. The Pelicans held both Phoenix and Chicago to under 100 points each, and strict defense hasn’t been Alvin Gentry’s expertise with the Suns and Pelicans.

As head coach of the Pelicans since 2015 and the Suns from 2008-12, Gentry is just 22-33 ATS (40%) after consecutive good defensive performances, losing bettors 12 units. While in New Orleans, Gentry has faced a team over .500 in this spot nine times, and the Pelicans are 1-8 SU and 2-7 ATS, failing to cover the spread by 6.3 PPG.

At one point or another, the Raptors are going to come back down to earth. Through 13 games, they are 12-1 SU, winning by almost 10 PPG. Perhaps most impressively, they are shooting 49.3% from the field (league average is about 46%).

Since 2005, any team shooting at least 49% from the field with a win rate of 90% or higher, are 47-71-4 ATS (39.8%), losing bettors 25.7 units. — Evan Abrams

Winning teams are often overvalued, and those will exceptional records like the Raptors (12-1) are prime examples of teams oddsmakers will inflate the lines knowing casual bettors will wager on them. On paper, the Raptors should win easily against a .500 Pelicans squad, but covering the nine-point spread isn’t guaranteed. Since 2005, teams that have won 90% or more of their games are 152-182-8 (45.5%) ATS when playing an opponent with a .500 or worse record. — John Ewing

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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