New Orleans Pelicans vs Phoenix Suns Preview (12/17/22): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

A brewing rivalry between the Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans adds another chapter on Saturday night in the Footprint Center. See below our betting predictions, picks, injury news, projected starting lineups, and updated odds!

New Orleans Pelicans Vs. Phoenix Suns Betting Odds

The Phoenix Suns are 3.5-point road favorites against the New Orleans Pelicans, who have beaten them in two straight matchups this season. Phoenix won’t have Cam Payne, Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder, Duane Washington Jr, or Cameron Johnson available for this game. Meanwhile, the Pels will miss Brandon Ingram and E.J. Liddell, while Jose Alvarado is listed as probable.

New Orleans Pelicans Vs. Phoenix Suns Prediction

The New Orleans Pelicans have won two straight games against Phoenix. In one of those games, Zion Williamson threw down a vicious “360-windmill” dunk as the clock expired, even though the game was out of reach. That action can be perceived as showing up an opponent, and the Suns took it personally. Unfortunately for Phoenix, it didn’t take that action personally enough, as it lost the next matchup just two days later against New Orleans.

The Suns have hit their first dry spell, winning merely two of their past eight games. Phoenix can attribute part of that to Devin Booker missing two games and playing fairly poorly in four others. Additionally, their schedule has been challenging recently, and they’ve had a few other key players miss games, too. Without Deandre Ayton, Cam Payne, and Cameron Johnson, Phoenix will have to go to the end of the bench for added depth against a team like New Orleans, who can play ten guys comfortably.

New Orleans Pelicans “truthers” like myself are smiling at this strong start to the 2022-23 season. This team has everything: shooting, height, length, athleticism, defense, and versatility. Unfortunately, they will be without one of their top scorers, Brandon Ingram, but they still have plenty of firepower on the floor. Zion and Jonas Valanciunas have a significant advantage in the paint and on the glass against Jock Landale and Torrey Craig, while Dyson Daniels and Herb Jones can give Mikal Bridges and Devin Booker some problems defensively. This matchup simply favors the Pels.

Betting Trends

  • New Orleans is 6-7 ATS on the road in 2022-23
  • Phoenix is 9-6 ATS at home in 2022-23
  • The combined over record of these two teams is 28-28-1 in 2022-23

Key Matchups

Zion Williamson and the Phoenix frontcourt make up our key matchup of the game. Zion has dominated the Suns so far this season, and his phenomenal end-of-game dunk in the game on December 9th put the cherry on top. See the analysis for this game below and how much of an advantage Zion has on this Phoenix frontcourt!

Zion Williamson vs. Phoenix Suns’ Frontcourt

Zion has absolutely dominated the Phoenix Suns in the two games he has played this season; he finished with 35 points in both matchups while shooting 71.1% from the field. Williamson’s combination of athleticism, power, and agility is reminiscent of Orlando Magic Shaq, but obviously, not quite as tall.

The Suns are going to struggle again in this game. They are without Deandre Ayton and Cameron Johnson, which means that Torrey Craig will likely be deployed on Zion. Craig might be as tall as Zion but is easily 70-80 pounds lighter. Expect bully ball all night long. Advantage: Zion.

New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineups

PG: C.J. McCollum
SG: Herb Jones
SF: Trey Murphy III
PF: Zion Williamsonr
C: Jonas Valanciunas

Phoenix Suns Starting Lineups

PG: Chris Paul
SG: Devin Booker
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Torrey Craig
C: Jock Landale

Key Injuries

New Orleans Pelicans Injuries: E.J. Liddell (Out), Brandon Ingram (Out), Jose Alvarado (P)

Phoenix Suns Injuries: Deandre Ayton (Out), Cameron Johnson (Out), Cam Payne (Out), Jae Crowder (Out), Duane Washington Jr (Out)

Drew is one of the NBA Lead Writers at, specializing in betting content such as game predictions and player props. With a deep knowledge of players and prospects, Drew has an extensive edge in covering everything NBA.

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