Suns vs. Pelicans Odds, Expert Pick & Prediction: Expect Another New Orleans Victory (Sunday, December 11)
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Zion Williamson (dunking).
- The Suns and Pelicans are back for a rematch after New Orleans' easy win earlier this week.
- Unfortunately for Phoenix, the Suns fell despite shooting incredibly well from deep against New Orleans.
- The Pelicans should handle the Suns once again on Sunday.
Suns vs. Pelicans Odds
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
You’re not seeing double, it’s just a rematch from Friday night between the Phoenix Suns and the New Orleans Pelicans. Zion Williamson carried New Orleans to a 128-117 victory with a monster game scoring 35 points on 76.5% from the field.
Can the Suns take the second game or will the Pelicans extend their win streak to seven games? Here’s everything you need to know about the latest Suns vs. Pelicans odds and our pick and prediction for Sunday.
The Suns were owners of a six-game win streak to close out November but since then have gone 1-4, both straight up and against the spread in the month of December.
The Suns’ struggles have been partly because of injury. They lost Cameron Johnson for one to two months on Nov. 4, and Chris Paul was sidelined for most of November with a heel injury. While Johnson will not play again until at least January, Paul has played the past two games, struggling in his return but shining against the Pelicans.
Paul’s season-high 24 points wasn’t enough to stave off the Pelicans, who ran away at halftime, outscoring the Suns 40-30 in the third quarter—a quarter the Suns usually dominate.
CJ McCollum and Zion Williamson each scored 11 points in the third and were able to drive to the basket seemingly at will despite Williamson being guarded by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Mikal Bridges for most of the game. Suns big man Deandre Ayton was often pulled to the perimeter to keep 3s away from Jonas Valanciunas, who is shooting a respectable 36.6% from 3-point range this season, which opened up the paint for McCollum and Williamson.
This is simply a tough matchup for the Suns. They significantly outshot the Pelicans from deep, going 22-for-44, compared to New Orleans which only made eight of their 27 attempts from beyond the arc. Phoenix took almost half of its shots from distance and connected well, yet the Pelicans still came away with a comfortable 11-point victory. The real difference in Friday’s game was the free throw shooting. Williamson went 9-12 from the stripe, while the entire Suns team went 9-13.
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans are a delight to watch. They’re elite on both ends of the floor and are the proud owners of the second-best Adjusted Net Rating in the league (+6.2), behind only the Boston Celtics (+9.6). The Suns are an excellent +4.3, which is fourth in the league, but unlike Phoenix, the Pelicans are top ten in both Adjusted Offensive Rating (114.8) and Adjusted Defensive Rating (108.5), according to Dunks and Threes, which accounts for strength of schedule.
In their last 13 games, they’ve gone 11-2 straight up and 9-4 against the spread with a 105.2 Defensive Rating and a Net Rating of +11.3.
Their success is somewhat anomalistic in this modern era of basketball. They take the third-most shots at the rim (39.5%) but the fourth-fewest from beyond the arc, according to Cleaning the Glass. However, they’re making their 3s count, hitting 38.1% of their shots from distance—good enough for seventh in the league. Their ability to knock down 3s opens up the paint for Williamson, who takes the sixth-most shots at the rim (61.5%) of all big men who have played more than 500 minutes this season.
I think the Suns will struggle against the Pelicans once again. They are unlikely to shoot 50% from distance for two games in a row, and even that wasn’t enough against this Pelicans team.
The only way they can hang with New Orleans is by attacking the rim and drawing fouls, which is something they’ve struggled with all year, ranking 27th in FT Rate (17.9). Chris Paul is old, and Devin Booker is in the 98th percentile for his position in midrange attempts, and I don’t see a path for them to improve in that area. Ayton is the only player that could make a significant impact in that area.
On the other hand, the Pelicans didn’t even shoot that well from 3, and none of what they did on Friday was out of the ordinary from a regression standpoint, yet they still came away with a smooth win.
I’ll take the Pelicans at -2 and I like them at -3 or better.
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