If we were looking at a game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Phoenix Suns last season, you’d expect the court to need a Zamboni after each quarter to buffer the floor due to the pace of play. But this isn’t your 2019-20 Pelicans and Suns. Both teams can play defense! I know, this is a rarity in the NBA ...
The Pelicans have held two of three opponents to under 100 points. Stan Van Gundy has stressed defense and the Pels have some of the best perimeter defenders in the League in Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe. Let’s not forget Steven Adams patrolling the paint.
The Suns haven’t allowed more than 106 points in their three games this season, which is a low number by today’s standards. Mikal Bridges is looking he could turn into the next premier 3-and-D wing. Jevon Carter comes from good defensive roots. We know Chris Paul is a gamer. So we should see a tighter contest but the NBA has been unpredictable through Week 1.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Phoenix Suns, 10:00 p.m. ET TNT
Pick ATS: Suns -3
Before I get into this game a bit more, I’ll say the spread probably isn’t the way to go. We may get some injury or lineup news that could sway things one way or another. If that’s the case, capitalize on that. If not, in-game betting may be the way to go for Pels-Suns. It should be a tight game but that could result in OT or a 1-2-point win for the Suns. I’m going to stick to my guns though and trust the more consistent offensive team run by a Hall of Fame point guard.
The Pels can play strong defense at times but they can also get a bit too aggressive. I wonder if that hurts them against a team that has some of the best slashers in the NBA. New Orleans struggled against the Heat even without Butler for the second half on X-Mas. Brandon Ingram sort of disappeared late in the game and Zion Williamson can get out of control at times. Bridges did a great job on Luka Doncic in the opener. If he can do the same thing on Ingram, the Pels will have to lean on Zion and a bunch of streaky shooters like Ball, Bledsoe and Josh Hart.
Again I can see this being close, so monitor the lines in-game to see if you need to middle out. Otherwise, I like the Suns at home coming off a win over the Sacramento Kings.
Player Prop: Devin Booker U26.5 Points (-120)
You never feel 100 percent, great, amazing, confident about betting a Booker points under. This is about as close to confident as we’ll get. Booker has scored fewer than 27 points in all three games this season. Two of those were against the Sacramento Kings. The Pelicans have some of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA in Ball and Bledsoe. Chris Paul takes the ball out of Booker’s hands enough and the All-Star guard is struggling from distance. The Pelicans have allowed opponents to shoot 34.5 percent from beyond the arc early on this season. The pace of this game may be slower than you’d think as well. The under feels like a safe play for Booker.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/MI/PA/WV), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA) or Call or Text the TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789. 21+ (18+ NH). NJ/PA/WV/IA/IN/CO/IL/TN/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.