Pelicans vs. Suns Odds & Picks: Target the Total in Phoenix

Pelicans vs. Suns Odds & Picks: Target the Total in Phoenix article feature image
Credit:

Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: Zion Williamson (left) and Stan van Gundy.

  • The Phoenix Suns host the New Orleans Pelicans for a Western Conference showdown on Tuesday night.
  • Both teams rank in the bottom half of the NBA in Pace, which has Nick Alfano targeting the total in this matchup.
  • Check out Alfano's full preview for Tuesday's game and his betting pick below.

Pelicans vs. Suns Odds

Pelicans Odds +3 [BET NOW]
Suns Odds -3 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +130 / -150 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 222 [BET NOW]
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV TNT
Odds via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.

On a busy night in the Association, one of the best matchups features two small market teams out in the Western Conference.

The Pelicans and Suns are both 2-1, looking for continued improvement from young rosters and to legitimately contend in a crowded playoff scene out west. These organizations will use the game as a barometer to see how they stack up, and I expect a competitive contest because of it.

Last season, I would’ve taken the over in this matchup no matter what the number was. In classic 2020 fashion, this meeting is radically different. We have two better teams with new rosters and higher expectations.

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New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans clearly competes harder and is more effective on defense this season under new head coach Stan Van Gundy. No minutes restriction for Zion Williamson and the acquisition of Steven Adams certainly help.

It’s still too early to name Van Gundy the Coach of the Year, but the Pelicans entered Monday’s slate of games tied for fourth in Defensive Rating this season after a bottom-10 finish in their 2019-20 campaign (NBA.com). They’ve held their first three opponents to a 45.1% field goal percentage, 10th best in the league, and held two of them to under 100 points.

Of players averaging at least 15 minutes per game this season, Adams ranks 14th in individual Defensive Rating at 89.7 points per 100 possessions (NBA.com). While many were weary of acquiring the big man from Oklahoma City, his defensive impact is already palpable. Not to mention, Zion and Lonzo Ball are both top-10 in steals.

Unfortunately for the Pelicans and fortunately for us, their offense has not kept up. They rank 27th in offensive rating and 26th in True Shooting percentage after three games (NBA.com). Brandon Ingram and Williamson have certainly scored enough to get New Orleans two victories, but even these two budding superstars will not push this total over.


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Phoenix Suns

The Suns are fun to watch! Their roster feels like I went through an NBA 2K fantasy draft and made sure to keep Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges in Phoenix while bringing over Chris Paul, Jae Crowder and Frank Kaminsky, who would be a bad pick if I grabbed him in the sixth round, but that’s a conversation for another day.

Despite the newfound spotlight, nationally televised games (this one’s on TNT) and two early-season wins, these veteran additions have yet to mesh with the young core. Paul and Crowder haven’t finished a game with a positive plus/minus, and they’re both shooting under 40% from the field to start the season.

Though the offense needs work, defense has been a bright spot in their first three contests.

For those dedicated readers out there, you may be wondering what team is tied with New Orleans for the fourth best Defensive Rating in the league, as I mentioned above. It’s actually the Suns!

Thus far, Phoenix has dramatically stepped up its defensive intensity and is staying tight on assignments, preventing easy shots. The Suns have a defender within 2 feet of the player that takes a shot 9.9% of the time, which is seventh best in the league.

This Suns team is playing with a renewed passion and purpose. Its defense is strong, but Phoenix is still games away from finding offensive rhythm, making this a great spot to bet on a lower-scoring performance.

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Pelicans-Suns Pick

With only three games in the books for each side, it’s hard to decipher which trends to believe in and which may flip as the season runs its course.

Pace is one statistic that should signal ideal speed of play for many games to come. The Pelicans and Suns both rank in the bottom half of the league in this category heading into Monday’s slate.

Admittedly, I do not like playing unders. An under forces you to root against prolific shotmaking, poetic ball movement and the dazzle of the modern NBA.

Yet, here I am.

I see more defense in this matchup than the total implies, and the market has not adjusted for the first three games these teams have played.

I’m going down with the under. Masked bartender from behind plexiglass, please make it a double.

Pick: Under 222 at PointsBet. Bet down to 220.

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