Pelicans vs. Raptors Betting Picks & Odds: Value on the Opening Night Total?

Pelicans vs. Raptors Betting Picks & Odds: Value on the Opening Night Total? article feature image
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Photo credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jrue Holiday and Kyle Lowry

  • The New Orleans Pelicans are 7-point underdogs as they face the reigning champion Toronto Raptors (-7) in the opening game of the season on the road..
  • Our NBA crew breaks down the betting angles of tonight's matchup.

NBA Betting Odds: New Orleans Pelicans at Toronto Raptors

  • Spread: Raptors -7
  • Over/Under: 229
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: TNT

Odds as of Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).


The 2018-19 champion Toronto Raptors will raise their banner tonight as they host the upstart New Orleans Pelicans, who will unfortunately will start their season without No. 1 pick Zion Williamson.

Our NBA experts dive into what you need to know for tonight’s slate, notable betting trends, how they’re wagering on tonight’s game and more.

Betting Trend to Know

Only 35% of spread tickets are on the Pelicans +7 at Raptors. Since 2005, it has been profitable to bet against the public in Game 1 of the season. In that time, teams getting less than 40% of bets have gone 64-52-1 (55%) against the spread. John Ewing

Mears: Look to Live Betting for Value

With big names on opening night, bettors are of course itching to bet these matchups. The handles are already large, and we’ve already seen a ton of line movement on both games.

For the Raptors-Pelicans game, I was able to bet the line at Raptors -5.5 right after the Pelicans announced Zion Williamson underwent surgery and would be out 6-8 weeks to recover.

It has since moved to Raptors -7, although a couple of the sharper books have it at -6.5, which indicates the consensus could move down later today. If you want to bet the Pels, grab the +7; if you want the Raptors, I’d wait to see if it’ll budge off that number prior to tip.

All in all, I think the value from the spread is largely gone at the current number. That’s probably the case with all the sides and totals tonight given it’s opening night and there are just two games. Markets generally get more efficient with more money, and as of Tuesday afternoon, we’re likely approaching if not at the closing lines for these games.

Instead tonight, I would look at player props (more on those below) and live betting opportunities. Pelicans-Raptors could be ripe for a live play.

Both teams project to play fast: They ranked top-five in pace in the preseason, and their rosters suggest an uptempo pace (Lonzo Ball, Pascal Siakam, etc. like to push the ball). Further, they’re both playing small-ball with Siakam and Brandon Ingram at the respective power forward positions.

That said, I’m worried about the Pelicans offense. Losing Zion hurts given his hyper-efficiency, although playing Ingram at the 4 and starting JJ Redick should help the offense.

Still, this team has very questionable shooters, and both squads project to be good defenses. If the Pelicans look out of sorts offensively, I’ll look to live bet the under in anything in the 230 range. Bryan Mears

Moore: Banner Night Unders

The total for Pelicans-Raptors is an absurd 231 at the time of writing (Editor’s note: It’s now at 229.5/230 depending on the book), the highest for an opener in our database going back to 2005.

The Raptors are raising the banner, which is sure to be an emotional experience for Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka and all the guys who suffered through the LeBronto years.

In banner night games with a total of 200 or more, the over has gone just 1-5 since 2005. When the total is more than 215 in such games, the over is just 1-3.

In related news, teams getting their rings are 5-8 ATS in those openers. Raptors are -7 as of this writing.

The Raptors played at the third-fastest pace in preseason, the Pelicans fifth-fastest. The Pelicans had the No. 1 offensive rating in preseason, but of course, that was before Zion Williamson went down with his meniscus tear.

Without Williamson to bend the defense inside, it’s likely the Pelicans’ lack of shooting that bites them in this matchup. They don’t have hardly any crack shooters beyond JJ Redick. The Raptors will be taking an emotional breath; the Pelicans will be shorthanded. Matt Moore

Betting lean: Under 230 (I would even bet this down a few more points)


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.