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NBA Preview: 10th January

WE welcome in a fresh new week of the NBA and look to keep things rolling after sweeping last weeks best bets comfortably.

Let’s jump straight in and look at our best bets before tomorrow’s games.

New Orleans Pelicans @ Toronto Raptors

Huge shocker, but we are jumping straight back into a matchup featuring Canada’s favourite basketball team; the Raptors.

As previously stated, the Raptors are going to be a play-on team for me until bookmakers can adjust their numbers to reflect the team at hand and not the one that we’ve seen for the majority of the season thus far.

Finally healthy and with last season firmly behind them, Toronto is really balling out. They have now won and covered in all of their last 5 games and look every bit the team that was highlighted as being the dark horse of the Atlantic Division before the season tipped off.

Toronto have also over-performed the market with their totals, with the Overs cashing in all of their last 10 games and covering by an average margin of 16 points per game. While pushing for a division title is a little farfetched, Toronto will remain a competitive side and push into a playoffs position by the end of season.

Nick Nurse’s team is projecting as a top 5 offence right now. They both score efficiently and attack opponents with high frequency transition basketball wherever possible.

Playing smaller has allowed them to run the ball more and attack the rim for high percentage looks. Their use of transition scoring has also opened up the floor for their shooters and we have seen an improvement in their 3-point shooting as a result. Pascal Siakam, OG Anonuby and Fred VanVleet have all seen an uptick in their scoring production since returning and have been huge factors in their offence finding its groove.

The Pelicans come into this game on the back of a win against a depleted Golden State Warriors side. They have had a rough schedule over the past 5 games and will look to put some pressure on an Eastern conference opponent in a one out road game.

New Orleans has seen an uptick in their scoring output with Brandon Ingram back in their lineups and Devonte Graham has been a solid contributor as well. However, it’s Jonas Valancunas who figures to be a key component for the Pelicans to be competitive in this matchup.

He has a big size mismatch against Pascal Siakam inside and if he can get the ball down low and go to work with his back to the basket he should have plenty of success against a Raptors team that struggles defending post-up plays.

The size advantage should open opportunities to pressure the Raptors on the boards and create extra opportunities off misses – the Pelicans are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the league, while the Raptors are 29th in opponents offensive rebounding percentage allowed. I would also expect the Pelicans to push right back at the Raptors and run the ball off misses and attack before the defence is set in half court.

The Raptors play an up-tempo style and this is reflected by them being in the top 10 for pace in the league. The key for Toronto in this matchup will be to run the ball as frequently as possible.  New Orleans allow opponents to effectively get whatever they want and rank in the bottom 5 teams for points allowed in transition. Teams rating in the top 10 in transition offence have been able to score effectively against the Pelicans and you can guarantee that Nick Nurse will be drilling his squad to push the ball on misses and turnovers.

The pace and scoring efficiency projects to be high in this matchup. My model has this total landing around 225 and a fair price closer to 223.  If the Pelicans can stay competitive both teams have the ability to run up a score in this matchup.

Our best bet: Over 222.0 points $1.92 at PlayUp



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