A matchup between two heavyweights takes place on the second night of the 2022-23 NBA season when the New Orleans Pelicans fly to Brooklyn to go toe-to-toe with the Nets. I cover the game prediction, including my favorite picks, the updated odds, projected starting lineups, and key injuries that could alter the matchup. Check it out below!
New Orleans Pelicans Vs. Brooklyn Nets Betting Odds
The Brooklyn Nets are currently favored by 2.5 points at home against the Zion Williamson-led New Orleans Pelicans. Last season, the Nets were abysmal against the spread at home, finishing a league-worst 9-34-1. Meanwhile, the Pelicans covered 49% of their away games.
The point total sits at 231 points for this matchup between two contenders in their respective conferences. During the 2021-22 season, New Orleans had the second-worst over record in the NBA, only behind the Dallas Mavericks, who notoriously play at a snail’s pace. Brooklyn also had a sub-500 over record last year.
New Orleans Pelicans Vs. Brooklyn Nets Prediction
When both teams are fully healthy, I will look at this matchup as more of a toss-up, and the spread would likely reflect that too; however, as it stands right now, it’s a no-brainer to pull the trigger on the New Orleans Pelicans as a road dog. The Pelicans will return Zion Williamson this season from injury and have added depth in the form of rookie guard Dyson Daniels, who should be a high-impact defensive player from day one.
Last season, after adding C.J. McCollum at the trade deadline, the Pelicans finished roughly in the top five in offensive and defensive rating, which is indescribably impressive for a team that didn’t have their best player and that started the season out so poorly.
Now that Williamson is back, New Orleans will have one of the scariest frontcourts in the NBA and a talented enough backcourt to compete with the likes of other Western Conference favorites like the Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, and Phoenix Suns. For this game, I believe there’s no world where Ben Simmons and Nic Claxton outplay Zion and Jonas Valanciunas; rebounding should also be an issue for Brooklyn.
I usually refrain from looking too much at historical trends. Still, the Brooklyn Nets’ record against the spread at home last season was one of the most inexplicable phenomena in the NBA. Unfortunately, I don’t see it starting out much better this year due to an unfavorable frontcourt matchup and missing their two-best three-point shooters to injuries. I will gladly pull the trigger on the Pels as road dogs in this one.
- In 2021-22, the Brooklyn Nets were 9-34-1 ATS at home
- Both teams had under .500 over records last season
- New Orleans finished 29th in over percentage
Take a look at the key matchups below, featuring the Pelicans’ frontcourt versus the Nets’ frontcourt. It should be a wildly entertaining game for fans of both teams and the NBA in general.
Pelicans’ Frontcourt Vs. Nets’ Frontcourt
For the first New Orleans Pelicans game, all eyes will be on Zion Williamson, who missed last season with a foot injury. Will he be the same player he was before the injury? In 2020-21, Williamson averaged as many points in the paint per game as Shaq in his prime. Zion was well on his way to superstardom, and if New Orleans feels confident in bringing him back, then there probably hasn’t been a lot that has changed.
While Ben Simmons is a superb defender due to his size, length, lateral quickness, and IQ, Zion will be a tough matchup. Zion’s arguably the strongest, or one of the strongest, players in the league, and his physicality could overwhelm Simmons, especially since he hasn’t played in a regular season game in quite some time.
The other frontcourt matchup to watch is Jonas Valanciunas versus Nic Claxton. Claxton is another player with great height and length but lacks substantial size. Valanciunas has the build of a more traditional center, and I can see this causing Claxton some issues in the paint and on the glass.
New Orleans ranked third in offensive rebounding rate and total rebounding rate last season, and that was without Zion. Don’t be surprised if New Orleans is the best rebounding team in the league this year by a wide margin, depending on how soon Jaren Jackson Jr can make it back to the floor for the Grizzlies.
New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineup
Brooklyn Nets Starting Lineups
New Orleans Pelicans Injuries: Kira Lewis Jr (Out), Jaxson Hayes (Q)
Brooklyn Nets Injuries: Joe Harris (Out), Seth Curry (Out), T.J. Warren (Out)