The New Orleans Pelicans, despite a disappointing 2020-21 season, titillate with talent and offer a bevy of intriguing prop bets for next season. Under coach Stan Van Gundy, the players never really bought in, and the team managed to lose close game after close game. The Pels lost 14 games in which they led by double digits, the most in the NBA.
New head coach Willie Green brings youthful energy and valuable experience after serving as an assistant for the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns. MVP candidate Zion Williamson and 2020 All-Star Brandon Ingram rank among the most talented twosomes in the league.
Will the rest of the team coalesce around their two stars? Here are all the Pelicans props for sports bettors to consider going into next season.
The Road To Zion
The team has struggled recently, but Pelicans fans can rejoice over their bouncy, bulky, beast of a human, dunking over NBA competition like they’re pimple-faced teenagers. In the history of the league, few players have physically dominated as early in a career as Williamson.
Last season, according to HoopsHype, he became the first player to average 25 points a game before the age of 21. Williamson also set the record for field-goal percentage (61.1%) for a player averaging at least 25. Kevin McHale, Charles Barkley, Shaq, and Amar’e Stoudemire follow Zion on that list.
Those gaudy numbers set the expectations high for next season. They also make the chances of MVP, offered at +4200 at FanDuel, and scoring champ for +1400 at BetRivers legitimate possibilities. FanDuel additionally set Zion’s Most Improved Player odds at +900, but that award often goes to lesser players making a leap, not established all-stars.
For Zion to have a chance at those prestigious awards, the team will need to dramatically improve around him.
Neither PointsBet nor Bet Rivers expect much from the Pelicans in 2021, setting their regular-season win total at the low end of the market at 38.5. Caesars Sportsbook is dealing 40.5 for bettors looking at the ‘under’.
DraftKings sets New Orleans’ odds to make the playoffs at -210 for NO and +170 for YES. It is worth mentioning that thanks to the play-in tournament, the Pelicans could finish as low as 10th in the highly competitive Western Conference and still have a shot at winning you that bet.
Perhaps newly-signed Devonte Graham could help balance the floor and win the Most Improved Player award in the process +8000.
The lack of strength in the Southwest Conference does give the Pelicans a fighting chance. Of the teams in their division, only the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies present real problems. If Zion and Brandon can make a leap, especially on the defensive end, the Pelicans look like real threats to win the Southwest at +500.
The Phoenix Suns made the unlikeliest of runs at the NBA Finals this past season, thanks to the leadership of Chris Paul and head coach Monty Williams. Unfortunately, the Pelicans struck out on their own version of Chris Paul, when Kyle Lowry reportedly accepted $5 million less than New Orleans’ offer to sign with the Miami Heat.
Still, the Pelicans landed Green, a highly respected former player, coming off the Suns’ appearance in the Finals.
DraftKings set Green’s odds for Coach of the Year at +3000, which looks like great value. COY often goes to the head honcho of a team that overachieves while greatly improving from the year before.