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NBA Top Picks & Props for October 30: A Strong Start for Zion and the Pelicans

Zion Williamson New Orleans Pelicans v Philadelphia 76ers
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans shoots a lay up during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP

We’re wrapping up the first week of the NBA season and still trying to sort out which of our preseason beliefs were incorrect, and which hot or cold starts are simply random fluctuations and will revert back to our expectations shortly. Here are our top picks for today’s action in the NBA.

Key Factors

  • Brooklyn has lost two straight to open the season.
  • Portland is 0-3 and has the worst point differential in the league.
  • Zion Williamson is averaging 23.5 ppg and hasn’t taken a shot outside the paint.

Picks Summary

  • Nets -1 (-105)
  • Raptors -8.5 (-110)
  • Zion Williamson Over 25.5 Points (-109)

*All odds from Caesars Sportsbook (check our Caesars Sportsbook Review)


Brooklyn Nets vs. Charlotte Hornets

Monday, October 30, 2023 – 07:00 PM EDT at Spectrum Center


Winless Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Nets are 0-2 to start the season with two narrow losses to Cleveland and at Dallas. The losses were by a total of six points, and it took a 49-point night by Luka Doncic for the Mavericks to hold off the visiting Nets.

The Hornets, meanwhile, are currently in the playoff picture with a 1-1 start. Charlotte is benefitting from a three-game homestand to start the year and had a season-opening win over Atlanta. The Hornets then got bullied by the Pistons when they couldn’t match Detroit’s physical play.

The Nets will try to post their first win of the year in Charlotte on Monday night, while the Hornets will look to avoid going 1-2 in what should have been a favorable season-opening home schedule.

Injury Concerns

Brooklyn is still battling a rash of injuries that have highlighted the start of the Nets season. Center Nic Claxton has a sprained ankle and has already been ruled out for the game in Charlotte. Sharpshooter Cameron Johnson, who played two years of college in North Carolina, will not be able to have a homecoming either. A calf injury will force him out of the game. First-round draft pick Dariq Whitehead, another player who spent his college year in the state, at Duke, will also postpone his NBA debut at least one more game with a foot problem.

The Hornets are also dealing with injuries to James Bouknight, Cody Martin and Frank Ntilikina, who are all ruled out with knee or leg injuries.

Key Players to Watch

The Nets will lean on Cam Thomas, who is averaging 33 ppg in the first two games, and Mikal Bridges, who has not shot well so far this year. The Hornets are led by Terry Rozier and PJ Washington. Look for Brooklyn’s defense to do a better job shutting down Charlotte’s scorers than the Hornets will do on the other end of the floor.

NBA Pick: Nets -1 (-105) at Caesars Sportsbook


Portland Trail Blazers vs. Toronto Raptors

Monday, October 30, 2023 – 07:30 PM EDT at Scotiabank Arena


Tough Trail for Portland

The Portland Trail Blazers weren’t expecting a successful season after trading Damian Lillard last month. Still, the team appears on the verge of bottoming out. Portland has lost its first three games and is now on an early East Coast road trip. The Blazers are being outscored by an NBA-worst 15 points a night.

The Blazers opened their eastern swing with a 126-98 beat down in Philadelphia on Sunday and now play the second half of a back-to-back in Toronto.

The Raptors have lost two straight after a season-opening win, with all three games decided by seven points or fewer. Only two teams in the Eastern Conference have allowed fewer than Toronto’s 104 ppg on defense. Toronto has a new coach and point guard and still seems to be finding a way to gel on the court, which leads to inconsistent results.

Injury Report

Toronto will be without Christian Koloko. Precious Achiuwa has been listed as doubtful with a groin strain, and O.G. Anunoby is questionable. Portland won’t have Anfernee Simons, who has a thumb injury. The team is shooting below 30% from three without him, and he’s expected to miss a month.

The Raptors have the offensive firepower to pull away in this game. The team is shooting over 40% from three and that’s with All-Star Pascal Siakam playing below expectations so far this year. Look for Toronto to get a home win and keep Portland reeling.

NBA Pick: Raptors -8.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook


Golden State Warriors vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Monday, October 30, 2023 – 08:00 PM EDT at Smoothie King Center


Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans)

After struggling with injury for most of his NBA career, Zion Williamson may finally be ready to start living up to the immense potential he flashed when he entered the league. 

The Pelicans have won their first two games, and Zion has been spectacular, averaging 23.5 points and 6 rebounds while attacking the rim like a terminator. All 34 of his shot attempts this season have been inside the paint, and he has hit 21 of them.

Golden State is expected to get Draymond Green back for Monday’s game at New Orleans, but even with him added to the defense, the Warriors don’t appear to have anyone who can put the brakes on Williamson.

NBA Pick: Zion Williamson Over 25.5 Points (-109) at Caesars Sportsbook

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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