NBA Phoenix Suns vs New Orleans Pelicans: Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds (12/9/22)

While the Suns have been a mainstay at the top of the Western Conference over the past few years, they now welcome the Pelicans as another potential contender in what will be an exciting matchup with serious seeding implications. Even when dealing with injuries, the Sun’s high-powered offense have willed them to victory behind the performance of Devin Booker. Can they continue to climb up the West standings against the Pelicans?

Phoenix Suns vs New Orleans Pelicans Betting Odds

Oddsmakers slightly lean towards the Suns as they opened them as a -1.5 favorite. Bettors are torn on the outcome, failing to move the line either way with the Suns sitting firm at the opening number. Even with the return of Chris Paul bettors remain skeptical because the Suns have been more dynamic and higher powered with him off the court and it will be interesting to see if Paul can round back into form.

As for the total, points are expected to be scored in bunches in a back-and-forth battle with oddsmakers setting the total at 227. Bettors are in agreement, taking the over to as high as 228.5 as of writing. This is curious to me as both units have defensive advantages against one another, slowing down scoring production.

Phoenix Suns vs New Orleans Pelicans Prediction

The Pick: Under 228

With that being said, I will be on the under in this high-profile matchup. It’s never settling to go against the steam, but I am comfortable with this under ticket as pace, rebounding, and defensive capabilities will play a major factor in determining this outcome. 

While we have been accustomed to the idea of Chris Paul being an offensive mastermind and boosting any on floor unit he is on, he has actually hindered the Suns this year. Painful to say for the future Hall of Famer, but his slow methodical style of play has held back the Suns from wanting to be a high-powered offense that barrages opposing defenses with fast paced scoring.

He is averaging career lows in both points per game and shooting percentages. So far this season, Paul is averaging 9.1 points per game while shooting 36.6% from the field. When asked to score, Paul’s lack of quality shooting is leading to prolonged stalled out possessions for the Suns offense.

As for the Pelicans, their scoring production has taken a hit with injuries to Herbert Jones and Brandon Ingram. Especially without Ingram, causing the Pelicans to score below league average. This bodes well for our under because the Pelicans success without him has been on their ability to limit opposing offenses scoring with their elite defensive play.

Betting Trends

  • Under is 5-1 in last 6 Pelican home games
  • Under is 4-1 in last 5 Suns games following an ATS loss

Key Matchups

Without Brandon Ingram, how will the Pelicans generate scoring to keep pace with the Suns offense?

Pelicans secondary scoring vs Suns defense

Without Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans offensive identity has had to shift to a more old school style approach with using their size advantage down low against smaller units. This sets up Zion Williamson and Jonas Valanciunas to have big games, especially with Zion’s scoring abilities at attacking the rim for high quality looks.

While the Suns have Deandre Ayton to anchor the paint, he can only do so much with the Pelicans throwing multiple bigs at him. Should the Suns remain undersized sacrificing height with length, they may need to drop to the post to play help defense which would create gaps for the Pelicans to exploit.

Verdict

With the return of Chris Paul to slow down the Sun’s offense and the Pelicans relying on two-point production from their big men, I will take the under in what should be a low scoring affair.

Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup

PG: Chris Paul
SG: Devin Booker
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Torrey Craig
C: Deandre Ayton

(Team Callout)

New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineups

PG: CJ McCollum
SG: Dyson Daniels
SF: Trey Murphy III
PF: Zion Williamson
C: Jonas Valanciunas

(Team Callout)

Key Injuries

Phoenix Suns Injuries: Duane Washington Jr (O), Cameron Johnson (O), Jae Crowder (O)

New Orleans Pelicans Injuries: Brandon Ingram (O), Jose Alvarado (Q), Herbert Jones (O)

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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