New Orleans Pelicans vs Utah Jazz: Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds (12/13/22)

With a weak slate in college basketball today, the NBA takes the spotlight with two of the league’s bigger surprise teams this season battling it out when the New Orleans Pelicans take on the Utah Jazz. Both were projected to be in the middle to lower tier of the league and now sit on top of their conference. Can the Jazz close the gap in the standings with a big win at home?

New Orleans Pelicans vs Utah Jazz Betting Odds

Oddsmakers have tempered their expectations on the Jazz to get the big win, opening them as a slight underdog at +2. Bettors have been torn, failing to move the needle as this number has stayed firm since the open. It will be interesting to see how the Jazz round back into form with both Lauri Markkanen and Mike Conley returning from injury. 

As for the total, points are expected to be scored in bunches as oddsmakers opened the total at 231.5. Bettors were quick to hammer the over, taking it up to as high as 232.5. Even without Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans offense has been humming behind efficient play while allowing points scored on their defense at an above average rate. Even if the Jazz returning starters come out sluggish, they should have little issue shaking the rust off in scoring opportunities.

New Orleans Pelicans vs Utah Jazz Prediction

The Pick: Over 232.5

With that said, I will be placing a wager on the over as both teams should have little issue capitalizing on their scoring opportunities for vastly different reasons. While the Jazz rely on the scoring production of their perimeter play with their guards, the Pelicans have gone more old school with a bully ball type approach and forced defenses to respect defensive rim play.

The main catalyst for the Pelicans style of play has been the return of Zion Williamson. A sleeper MVP pick, Zion has been on a dominant tear since finally getting healthy. He has abused opposing defenses with his presence down low, averaging 25 points per game on 60.9% shooting from the floor. 

He not only has created high scoring opportunities for himself down low, but he also has connected from deep at an efficient level for a big man. So far this season, Zion is shooting 35.8% from deep. Even without Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans have nearly maintained scoring pace with the emergence of Zion.

With defenses having to focus more on the Pelican bigs, this has opened the floor for others to get more clean looks at the rim. The result of this is the likes of CJ McCollum and Trey Murphy shooting at an efficient rate, good for +40% from the field. Simply put, the Pelicans’ efficient post play has resulted in overall success for the unit as a whole.

Betting Trends

  • Over is 8-3 in last 11 Pelicans road games
  • Over is 11-1 in last 12 Jazz games against a team with a winning straight up record

Key Matchups

Can the Jazz returning starters pick up where they left off and maintain elite scoring production?

Utah Jazz scoring production vs Pelican’s defense

As previously stated, with the Pelicans allowing opposing teams scoring at a high rate, the Utah Jazz should have minimal issue integrating their starters scoring production back into the fold. This bodes well for Jordan Clarkson, Lauri Marrkanen, and Mike Conley as they do the brunt of Utah’s scoring.

Even with a third rank Adjusted Defensive rating, the Pelicans allow threes at an above average rate and that plays right into Utah’s hands who specialize in a more modern style of play. The Jazz rank top-5 in three-point rate and will once again have the opportunity to get clean looks at the perimeter to pour on the scoring for our over ticket.

Verdict

With the Pelicans giving up clean looks from three at an alarming rate and the Jazz being able to be abused down low, I will take the over in this matchup as both teams will have high quality scoring opportunities all game long.

New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineup

PG: CJ McCollum
SG: Dyson Daniels
SF: Herbert Jones
PF: Zion Williamson
C: Jonas Valanciunas

Utah Jazz Starting Lineups

PG: Mike Conley
SG: Jordan Clarkson
SF: Jarred Vanderbilt
PF: Lauri Markkanen
C: Kelly Olynyk

Key Injuries

New Orleans Pelicans Injuries: Herbert Jones (P), Brandon Ingram (O)

Utah Jazz Injuries: Simone Fontecchio (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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