For a brief few weeks near the start of the 2022-23 season, the New Orleans Pelicans sat atop the Western Conference. Then, Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram both hit the injured list and New Orleans missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. Pelicans odds to win the NBA championship sit at +4700, a seemingly realistic feat for a team that has shown glimpses of what it can be when healthy.
Zion and Ingram have only played 93 of a possible 328 regular season games since teaming up four seasons ago. Interestingly, the Pelicans have a losing record in those games, going 46-47.
In addition to drafting Zion first in 2019, GM David Griffin has hit on a few other picks since joining New Orleans. Wings Herb Jones and Tre Murphy are both expected to continue blossoming into potential All Stars. As is the case for most teams, the Pelicans will go as far as their stars can take them, assuming they can stay healthy first.
New Orleans Pelicans odds
View New Orleans Pelicans odds below, including moneyline, point spreads, and totals for their next game.
View Pelicans NBA title odds below.
Additions: Jordan Hawkins (draft), Cody Zeller (signed)
Subtractions: Jaxson Hayes (free agent), Willy Hernangomez (free agent), Josh Richardson (free agent), Garrett Temple (free agent)
Here is the current New Orleans Pelicans roster.
Pelicans 2023-24 Scheule
The Pelicans have opened the 2023-24 regular season. Here is New Orleans’ complete schedule.
Who are the best players on the Pelicans?
Zion Williamson: The New Orleans Pelicans looked like legitimate NBA Finals contenders halfway through the season. On January 1, they were tied for second in the Western Conference. Williamson was averaging 26 points, 7 rebounds, and nearly 5 assists per game and had played in 28 of a possible 36 games.
It’s no coincidence that after Zion played his last game of the season on January 2, the Pelicans turned into one of the worst teams in the entire league.
Williamson proved he has the ability to dominate the NBA over the course of his 114-game career. He’s averaged 26-7-4 since joining the league three years ago. He made his first of two All-Star teams two seasons ago when he managed to play in 61 games.
His second All-Star selection came this season despite only participating in 29 contests for the Pels. The team was a respectable 17-12 with him, compared to a 30% winning percentage since his trip to the injury report.
Brandon Ingram: Much like Zion, Brandon Ingram’s career in New Orleans has been defined by his inability to stay healthy. Now in his fourth season with the Pelicans, Ingram has only played in 40% of the team’s games since his arrival.
When healthy, Ingram has been worthy of All-NBA consideration. He’s averaged 23-6-5 with an All-Star selection in 2020.
This season has been more of the same for Ingram. He’s played in just 47% of his team’s games while averaging about the same stat line he did in his first three seasons in New Orleans.
Pelicans fans will likely have to wait for next season to watch Ingram and Williamson play together again. The two have only played 93 games together since teaming up in 2019.
CJ McCollum: Now in his 12th NBA season, CJ McCollum has been an elite scorer for the last decade. He’s averaged 20-or-more points each of the last 10 seasons.
McCollum spent his first seven-and-a-half seasons in the league before getting traded to the Pelicans in the middle of the 2021-22 season. He struggled with his shooting early in the year, but turned things around in January to progress back to his career shooting splits of roughly 45% from the field and 38% from deep.
He’s also been the most reliably available of the Pelicans’ “Big 3,” playing in 91% of the team’s games this season.
New Orleans will have an important decision to make with McColllum’s contract when it runs out at the end of next season. If the team underperforms similarly to this season, McCollum would be a valuable trade piece for the Pelicans to dangle in front of a playoff contender.
The Odds Finder tool on TheLines.com allows you to easily search between New Orleans Pelicans team and player props. To view all of the available props in one chart use the search bar below.
Pelicans 2022-23 season recap
At its peak, the current iteration of the New Orleans Pelicans is the type of team opponents don’t want to play against. On offense, it’s a big, physical team that relentlessly attacks the rim and plays with a top-10 pace. On defense, it’s versatile and tough, able to defend the interior and the 3-point line with equal tenacity.
Basically, it’s a team that embodies its best player, Zion Williamson.
On December 11, New Orleans sat atop the Western Conference at 18-8. They had just won seven games in a row, and were in the midst of a month-long span where they won 12 of 14.
In those first 26 games, the Pelicans owned the best defensive rating in the league (106.2) while allowing just 108 points per game. They ranked in the top ten in most stats indicative of Zion’s presence on the floor: forcing turnovers, scoring in transition off of those turnovers, scoring in the paint, free throw attempts, and rebounding.
Up to that point in the season, the Pelicans were 6-4 when the trio of Williamson, Ingram, and McCollum all played together. In those 10 games the three played at the same time for an average of 17 minutes per game with an average net rating of +16.5.
Since Zion’s injury, the Pelicans own the fourth-worst record in the league. Only the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and Detroit Pistons have been worse. Once the team became accustomed to Zion’s overpowering style of play, it was clearly difficult to overcome his absence.
How to bet on the Pelicans
A winning bet on the moneyline is determined by which team wins the game outright. Let’s use an example with the New Orleans Pelicans and Houston Rockets.
The negative number on the Pelicans moneyline (-140) indicates oddsmakers have them listed as favored to win. It would take a $140 wager to win $100 profit, plus the $140 originally posted for the bet. A $100 on the Rockets would net $175 in profit if they can pull off the upset.
The point spread considers the margin of victory rather than just which team is victorious. Take the below point spreads in a game between the New Orleans Pelicans and New York Knicks:
Pelicans +4.5 (-115)
Knicks -4.5 (-115)
The Knicks are favored by 4.5 points, indicated by the “-4.5.” They need to win by at least five points to cover the point spread and win the bet. As underdogs, the Pelicans can lose by up to four points or win the game for a bet on them to hit.
The (-115) odds listed next to each team’s point spread show the return on a correct bet in American Odds. Both teams have the same -115 odds so a $115 bet on the winning team pays the bettor $100, plus the $115 wagered. A $100 bet on the would earn the bettor $86.96 plus the initial wager if it hits.
Point Total (Over/Under)
A bet on the point total is determined by the combined number of points scored by both teams. Sportsbooks will provide a set number to allow bettors to choose whether the final combined scores of each team will be higher or lower than that number.
If the point total in a game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Philadelphia 76ers is set at 235 points and ends with a final score of 125-120, bettors who selected the over would win.
Betting on games while they’re in-play is known as live betting, which can be a fruitful strategy for those who prepare ahead of time. Take a game that has the Pelicans favored at -250 on the moneyline in their matchup with the Golden State Warriors who are +200 on the moneyline. A $100 bet on the Pelicans before the game starts would only make a $40 profit.
You also know that the Pelicans often start slowly when they play at home and there’s a good chance the Warriors are able to keep things close early in the game. Using that info, you could hold on to your bet until the game is in motion to see if the odds on the Pelicans moneyline shift in your favor.
If the Warriors come out firing and claim an early lead, oddsmakers will move the line to reflect the current score, increasing the value of a bet on the Pelicans to win, upping your profits on a correctly (and well-timed) bet.
Live betting is also where “hedging” your bets can come into play, a tactic by bettors where they make one bet before the game starts and then an opposing bet while the game is live as a way to recoup their potential losses. Let’s say you bet on New Orleans (+180 underdogs) to win a game against the Chicago Bulls (-200 favorites), but at halftime the Pelicans are down by 10 points. The live odds for a moneyline bet on the Bulls now only pays you back one-third of your money, or -300. By giving up on the Pelicans and betting on the Bulls moneyline at -300 during halftime, you’re hedging your initial bet on the Pelicans in an attempt to recover some money from a seemingly lost cause.
Parlays and Teasers
Parlays and Teasers combine multiple different bets together for an increased payout.
For a parlay example, let’s say the New Orleans Pelicans are favored against the Miami Heat (-140 on the moneyline) and the Cleveland Cavaliers are favored over the Minnesota Timberwolves at -200 on the moneyline. If you parlay the moneylines of the Pelicans and Cavs together, the odds on your potential return jump up to +157 since you incur more risk trying to correctly predict two teams to win instead of just one.
A teaser allows bettors to move multiple point spreads or totals in their preferred direction. Let’s say you like the Pelicans (-4.5) in their matchup with the Sacramento Kings as much as you do the Orlando Magic (-5.5 favorites) to defeat the Utah Jazz. You can tease both lines by four points (most books offer anywhere from four-to-six point teases) to shift the lines to New Orleans (-0.5) / Orlando (-1.5). Now, both teams need to win by four-fewer points than the original lines for your bet to cash.
Future bets are placed on props in the longer-term future. Team win totals, award winners, and player performances are common future bets.
New Orleans Pelicans Franchise History
The New Orleans Pelicans franchise is the youngest in the league today. Yet, there’s still often confusion about the differences between the Pelicans and Charlotte Hornets franchises.
The team that is now the Pelicans began as the Charlotte Hornets in 1988 until 2002 when it moved to New Orleans. It kept the name Hornets until 2014 when it rebranded as the New Orlean Pelicans.
In 2004, Charlotte started a new team and called it the Bobcats. 10 years later when the New Orleans franchise became the Pelicans, the histories of the two franchises were essentially re-written.
The Charlotte Bobcats not only got the name Hornets back, they also reclaimed the history of the Charlotte Hornets from 1988-2002. The Pelicans kept their New Orleans history from 2002 onward (including a brief stint in Oklahoma City history when the team had to relocate due to Hurricane Katrina), but are now considered an expansion team.
The most successful run in franchise history came from 2007-2011 when it was led by its all-time leader in assists, Chris Paul. Paul and David West formed a lethal pick-and-roll duo that led the Pelicans to the playoffs in three of four seasons together, including the franchise’s first-ever Western Conference Semifinals.
The New Orleans Pelicans currently have () odds to win the 2024 NBA title. By comparison, the favored Bucks () and Celtics () have much shorter odds.
New Orleans opened the NBA regular with a projected win total of (). The Pelicans won 42 games during the 2022-23 season.
The Pelicans odds to win the Southwest Division were +240 at BetMGM at the start of the NBA regular season. Only the Grizzlies (+150) and Mavericks (+175) had shorter odds.
Zion Williamson currently has() NBA MVP odds.