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NBA Odds, Betting Picks & Predictions: Pelicans vs. Jazz Preview (Thursday, July 30)

NBA Odds, Betting Picks & Predictions: Pelicans vs. Jazz Preview (Thursday, July 30) article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson.

  • The New Orleans Pelicans are a short favorite over the Utah Jazz on Thursday night in the NBA's return, with the total rising steadily to 227.5.
  • The market hinges largely on the availability of Pelicans star Zion Williamson, who will be a game-time decision. He returned to the NBA bubble earlier this week after a family emergency.
  • Get our full breakdown and betting pick for Pelicans vs. Jazz below.

Pelicans vs. Jazz Betting Odds & Picks

Pelicans odds -2 [BET NOW]
Jazz odds +2 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -127/+108 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 227.5 [BET NOW]
Time 6:30 p.m. ET

Odds as of Wednesday evening and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

And we are back! The long-awaited NBA restart is finally here and the team at The Action Network is here to guide you through these unprecedented times.

The first official game in the bubble pits the New Orleans Pelicans against the Utah Jazz at 6:30 p.m. ET in Orlando, Florida. How much can we rely on these teams’ performances before the stoppage due to COVID-19? Let’s break it down.

New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans are undoubtedly one of the most exciting young teams to watch with the emergence of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball as legitimate threats combined with the veteran leadership of Jrue Holiday, J.J. Redick, and Derrick Favors. But is this a team we can trust against a perennial playoff team like the Jazz?

According to FantasyLabs, Zion is listed as a game time decision and his impact on the Pels cannot be overstated. Over the past 15 games, Williamson had the second-highest Net Rating on the team when he is on the court. When he is off the court, the Pelicans suffer on both sides of the ball. If Williamson is forced to miss this game, or if he has his minutes limited, this line will be impacted dramatically. Our own Matt Moore wrote about how much Zion impacts his team’s postseason and win total odds here.

The Pelicans play at a blistering pace. Over the last 15 games before the shut down, the Pelicans had the second-fastest pace in the league (106.13). They’ve scored the fourth-highest percentage of their points in transition (16.9%) over this span.

They’re able to do this by dominating the glass — the Pelicans give up the second fewest rebounds to their opponents per 100 possessions (40.3). This blitzkrieg allows them to run other teams out of the gym. Look for the Pelicans to try and control the pace of play by dominating the glass.

Utah Jazz

It has been an eventful few months for the Jazz: Rudy Gobert underplayed the coronavirus in March, became the first player diagnosed with COVID-19 and had a public falling out with teammate Donovan Mitchell who also contracted the virus. It will be interesting to see if the team’s chemistry can rebound.

Speaking of rebounding, over the past 15 games the Jazz are also a top-10 team at rebounding the basketball and limiting their opponents’ second chance opportunities per 100 possessions. The Jazz do this in an entirely different way than the Pelicans, though.

The Jazz play at the third-slowest Pace in the league (97.43) and rely on Gobert’s rim protection to force bad shots while Mitchell leads the offense in a mostly half-court attack as they score the fourth fewest points per game in transition.

However, these stats do not take into consideration that the Jazz are missing a critical component of their lineup — Bojan Bogdanovic. He underwent surgery on his right wrist in May and the Jazz have confirmed that he will be out for the remainder of the season.

Bogdanovic started 63 games this season while averaging 33 minutes per game for the Jazz. His 24.1% usage rate is the third highest on the team behind Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson.

Additionally, Bogdanovic accounted for 10% of the team’s assists, good for second-most on the team. I think the Jazz will have an extremely difficult time making up for his absence considering they have a +5.5 Net Rating vs a -1.8 Net Rating with his On/Off splits per and Cleaning The Glass.

Betting Analysis & Pick

This game hinges entirely on which team can play their game. The Pelicans are entering the seeding games with young stars surrounded by seasoned vets while the Jazz are missing one of their key players in Bogdanovic. The Pelicans should be able to dictate the pace of this game and force the Jazz to run with them.

I think this game is going to be close, and the moneyline price is not terribly steep. At the time of this writing, the Pelicans are receiving just 24% of moneyline bets but those account for 36% of the dollars. In this spot it has been favorable to fade the public and follow the dollars.

If Zion is able to play, I’ll grab the Pelicans moneyline.

The PICK: Pelicans ML (-136), there’s value on this line up to -145. 

[Bet $20+ on the Pelicans at PointsBet and Win $125 if they make at least one 3-pointer]

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