Basketball fans, the NBA is back. 2018/19 champions Toronto Raptors get their campaign underway at home to the New Orleans Pelicans and Nick Nurse’s side will be confident of opening up with a win despite a troubled offseason.
Despite winning the NBA title, there have been a number of changes at Scotiabank Arena this year – with Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green leaving Toronto ahead of the new season. At the time of writing, the Raptors are priced at 40/1 to defend their NBA title but even the most passionate Toronto will have doubts ahead of Tuesday night’s opener.
Meanwhile, New Orleans are heading in the right direction and they have started to rebuild after a difficult couple of years. The Pelicans have finished with a losing record in three of the previous four campaigns but NBA fans are expecting big things from New Orleans this time around.
With that in mind, are the Pelicans worth considering at 80/1 with William Hill to lift the NBA crown for the first time. Realistically, New Orleans are going to need a minor miracle to secure the NBA Championship this year but a first Southwest division title since 2007/08 may be on the cards if everything goes to plan.
Event Date: October 22, 2019
Raptors Looking To Get Off To Fast Start
Toronto are much changed but the mindset will stay the same. Winning as many games as possible at Scotiabank Arena will give Nurse’s side the best possible chance of reaching the postseason. Most Raptors fans will be expecting Toronto to struggle at times this year but a poor start could spell curtains for their playoff aspirations.
Expect the unexpected when it comes to the Raptors – anything is possible. Toronto need to build some early season momentum or else confidence will drop at Scotiabank Arena. Nurse knows that these next few months are absolutely vital for his future as head coach and for the team to stand any chance of featuring at the business end of the campaign.
No Leonard means that Toronto lack a top class talent on this roster. Somebody is going to have to step into his shoes in order to try and replace the 2019 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player. Watch this space, there are a number of young hopefuls who could mature into elite household names in the NBA later this year.
Tough Opener For Pelicans – What Will We Learn?
New Orleans have the chance to make a statement here. Toronto may need time to gel and the Pelicans can take full advantage with a bit of luck. Most bookmakers have the road team as major underdogs here but NBA fans may see it differently – Ladbrokes are offering 9/4 on the Pelicans to do a job on Toronto on Tuesday night.
Ask any NBA fan and most will dismiss New Orleans at the first possible opportunity. Having said that, the Pelicans certainly tick all the right boxes to go on and enjoy a successful year at the NBA summit. Watch this space, a road win for New Orleans against the defending champions will set alarm bells ringing across the league.
Toronto will be fired up and ready to go for the 2019/20 curtain raiser and most NBA fans will be expecting Nurse’s side to come out and get the win. It may not be pretty but Toronto can open their campaign with a victory and that is all that matters. Watch this space, 9/2 for the Raptors to win by less than six points is tempting.
TIP: Toronto to win by 1-5 points (9/2 with William Hill)
CORRECT SCORE: Toronto Raptors 102-99 New Orleans Pelicans