Brooklyn Nets vs New Orleans Pelicans: Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds (1/6/23)

What was once thought of as a mega star filled matchup now loses some of its luster with the recent injury news of Zion Williamson. A shame, as he has been playing at an MVP type level and has turned the New Orleans Pelicans into a potential championship contender. They will have to make do without him for about a month, getting the resurging Nets in the meantime. Can the Pelicans win without their star player?

Brooklyn Nets vs New Orleans Pelicans Betting Odds

Oddsmakers are iffy on their chances, opening them up as a +4.5 underdog. Bettors believe the Nets start power may be too much for them to overcome, backing Brooklyn up to -5.5 as of writing. This number opened surprisingly low in my opinion, losing a major scoring threat and physicality that the Nets would have had trouble to match. Without Zion, I am hard pressed to see how they can contain the Nets interior scoring.

Speaking of scoring, oddsmakers believe points will be scored at a fast pace by opening the number at 229.5. Even without Zion, bettors believe points will be scored at a blistering pace by backing the over up to 230.5 as of writing. With so much variance on the Pelicans side without Zion, as well as potentially Brandon Ingram, I am passing on this number as I would like to see how they fare against an elite team.

Brooklyn Nets vs New Orleans Pelicans Prediction

The Pick: Nets -4.5

The Nets’ production has been night and day since the start of the season. Once thought of as a catastrophic failure behind more off the court antics, now are pegged as a potential NBA championship winning team behind a very efficient level of play. This was made apparent in the midst of their 12-game win streak, a stretch of dominance that saw a vast improvement on both ends of the court.

Especially on the defensive end. While their high-powered scoring is nice and all, their scoring efforts are for naught if they cannot defend. They went from playing as one of the worst defensive units in the league to above average in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency and it has paid immediate dividends. Their recent success has been in large part of their ability to defend the perimeter, an area that the Pelican may lean on without their dominant interior presence.

Not only have they excelled at guarding the perimeter, but the Nets have crushed it in halfcourt sets as a whole. During their win streak they ranked fourth in half-court defense. If they can limit the Pelicans transitional offense, an area they still struggle at defending, then they should have no issue in limiting their scoring. Without Ingram and Williamson, their scoring production takes a massive drop off after CJ McCollum.

Betting Trends

  • Nets are 4-1 ATS in their last five against a team with a winning home record
  • Pelicans are 1-5 ATS in the last six games against teams with a winning road record
  • Nets are 7-2 ATS in their last nine meetings against the Pelicans

Key Matchups

Can Nicolas Claxton continue to provide a much-needed secondary scoring effort?

Nicolas Claxton vs Pelicans interior defense

The Nets scoring production is as top heavy as it can get with arguably two of the best scorers dealing out damage on a nightly basis.

It’s unrealistic to expect them to be able to maintain that level of play in every game, desperately needing help. The man who has stepped up in that secondary role? Big man Nicolas Claxton.

Claxton is poised for another big outing with the Pelicans interior taking a massive blow without Zion. That leaves just Jonas Valanciunas to lock down the paint, giving Claxton plenty of room to work around the sluggish big man.

Verdict

Back the Nets at -5.5 or better in a game where they will set a scoring pace too fast for the hobbled Pelicans to keep up with. Especially with a recently improved defensive level of play.

Brooklyn Nets Starting Lineup

PG: Ben Simmons
SG: Kyrie Irving
SF: Royce O’Neale
PF: Kevin Durant
C: Nicolas Claxton

(Team Callout)

New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineups

PG: CJ McCollum
SG: Herbert Jones
SF: Trey Murphy III
PF: Naji Marshall
C: Jonas Valanciunas

(Team Callout)

Key Injuries

Brooklyn Nets Injuries: TJ Warren (Q)

New Orleans Pelicans Injuries: Zion Williamson (O), Brandon Ingram (D), Larry Nance Jr (Q), Willy Hernangomez (Q)

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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