76ers vs. Pelicans Odds, Pick, Prediction: Back Zion Williamson and New Orleans at Home (December 30)

76ers vs. Pelicans Odds, Pick, Prediction: Back Zion Williamson and New Orleans at Home (December 30) article feature image

Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images. Pictured: Zion Williamson.

76ers vs. Pelicans Odds

76ers Odds-1.5
Pelicans Odds+1.5
Time8:30 p.m. ET
TVNBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Two teams that have been playing some inspired basketball will meet on Friday night in New Orleans when the Pelicans host the 76ers.

Philly will be getting a massive boost with Tyrese Maxey back, but is that enough to tip the scales here in its favor? Find a pick and prediction for 76ers vs. Pelicans below.

Will Maxey Give the 76ers a Boost?

The Sixers' five-point loss to the Wizards on Wednesday marked their first loss in nine games. Over that span, they covered all but once and continued to push the pace and play adequately on offense; they've pushed eight of their last 11 games over the total.

Philly, in general, has been an excellent team to back this season with a 19-13-1 record against the spread. On the road, though, that's been a different story; the Sixers are just 6-8 away from the Wells Fargo Center and now stand at 48-51-3 ATS on the road since the start of the 2020 season.

Maxey will return to the lineup here, and while his play warrants plenty of attention, the team has been just fine without him. In fact, December has gone so well that they're now +4.1 per 100 possessions with Maxey off the floor and +3.3 with him on.

Despite the slightly-worse numbers with Maxey in the fold, this is a team which has ranked 13th on the offensive end this month. Philly has managed to rank second in 3-point shooting, however, so it's hard for Maxey to make a huge impact in that area.

Zion and the Pelicans Look to Keep Rolling

The Pelicans remain without the services of Brandon Ingram, who is dealing with a toe contusion, but the good news is that Zion Williamson has returned from his three-game absence. New Orleans survived without him, winning three games against mediocre opponents, but his return against Minnesota was about as good as it gets.

Williamson dropped 43 points in 34 minutes, leading New Orleans to a one-point win, adding five assists and three rebounds in the process. Williamson is already turning into one of the scariest players to face in the league, but adding him to an already-beefy frontcourt seems slightly unfair to the rest of the league.

New Orleans already touts itself as one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA and a club which can defend inside. It takes the third-most shots inside of 10 feet in the league, so someone who is as gifted around the rim as the former No. 1 pick only makes this a harder ask for Philly.

76ers-Pelicans Pick

The Sixers may be getting Maxey back here, but I'm not quite sure that moves the needle this much for me. For starters, he likely won't be playing all that much in his first game. On top of that, the Sixers have been cruising without him in the lineup, so it's a stretch to say this makes them two or three points better than they already were.

Philly has been mediocre at defending the paint, allowing 59% shooting inside of six feet, and it has also been the second-worst rebounding team in the NBA, grabbing just 55.1% of available boards.

Philly isn't ready for this storm inside, and I don't think Maxey will make up for this bad matchup (at least not yet). I'll take the Pelicans -1 and fade a bad road team. Lay up to two points with New Orleans.

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