Pelicans Will Start 2022-23 On Winning Note: BET NOLA ATS Vs. Nets

The New Orleans Pelicans heads to the Barclays Center Wednesday to open their regular season by facing the Brooklyn Nets with the tip-off set for 7:30 p.m. ET.

New Orleans started 1-12 last season before finishing 35-34 and advancing to the Western Conference playoffs as a 9-seed via the play-in tourney.

The Pelicans got eliminated by the Phoenix Suns but it was NOLA coach Willie Green’s 1st year on the job and the Pelicans were without Zion Williamson for the entire season.

Between Kyrie Irving‘s vaccination status, the Ben Simmons-James Harden trade and Kevin Durant‘s trade request, it’s been a tumultuous calendar year for Brooklyn.

The Nets were one of the favorites to win the East last season but significantly underperformed expectations. Brooklyn earned a postseason berth by the play-in tourney only to get swept by the Boston Celtics in the 1st round.

We are riding the momentum New Orleans built to end last season. Take the points with the Pelicans because they have several matchup advantages vs. the Nets and NOLA is taking sharp action.

Betting Details (DraftKings)

  • Moneyline: Pelicans (+120), Nets (-140)
  • Against the spread (ATS): PELICANS +2.5 (-110), Nets -2.5 (-110)
  • Total (O/U) — 231 — O: -110, U: -110

New Orleans’ ‘strength-on-weakness’ edges

The Pelicans were 4th in adjusted offensive rebounding rate last season while the Nets were dead-last in adjusted defensive rebounding rate, according to CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG).

But, NOLA was missing Zion who was 12th in offensive rebounds per game in 2020-21 and Brooklyn didn’t do anything this offseason to address its rebounding struggles.

Pelicans Zion Williamson (Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Pelicans scored the 3rd-most second-chance points per game last season and the Nets were 22nd in second-chance points allowed per game.

Also, New Orleans’ offensive FT-rate should improve with the return of Zion and the Pelicans were 3rd in that area last season anyhow, per CTG. Whereas the Nets were 24th in defensive FT-rate last season.

Brooklyn presently doesn’t have enough depth to overcome foul trouble. Especially vs. NOLA team that has one of the deepest rosters in the NBA.

Pelicans are deeper

The return of Zion gives the Pelicans a legit dynamic duo with Brandon Ingram and a quasi “Big 3” with combo guard C.J. McCollum. All three are former All-Stars and proven scorers.

New Orleans’ front office surrounded those guys with nice complimentary pieces that all play a role. Pelicans big Jonas Valančiūnas grabbed the 2nd-most offensive rebounds per game last season and NOLA has several perimeter defenders to throw at KD and Kyrie.

When fully healthy, there’s a lot to like about Brooklyn’s roster but the Nets are missing two key contributors due to injury: F Joe Harris and SG Seth Curry. However, this is a bad matchup for the Nets and the market knows it.

Sketchy line movement

Per VSIN, nearly three-fourths of the action at DraftKings is on Brooklyn but the line is moving towards New Orleans.

The Nets opened as 4-point favorites and are down to the current despite the lopsided betting market. This is a red flag because typically oddsmakers adjust the spreads based on their liability.

It feels like the sportsbooks are laying a trap by making Brooklyn cheaper despite all the pro-Nets money. In this case, follow the line movement since it’s going in the opposite direction as the public.

BET: Pelicans +2.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportbook

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 11:20 a.m. ET.

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Written by Geoff Clark

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