With Zion, The New Orleans Pelicans Are Scoring At Will

Oddsmakers have been forced to adjust to the surge in scoring in games involving the Pelicans

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  • In their last 10 games, the New Orleans Pelicans have averaged 119.5 points per game and have surrendered 115.6 points per contest.

  • New Orleans’ frenetic offensive pace leads to a significant amount of scoring from the Pelicans and their opponents. The Pelicans play at the fourth-fastest pace in the NBA.

  • Zion Williamson deserves much of the credit for the Pelicans taking off offensively. Since he debuted on January 22nd, the Pelicans have averaged 119.6 points per game. Before Zion came off the injury list, the Pelicans averaged 114.4 points per contest.

  • The Pelicans are also playing better defensively with Zion in the lineup. Before Zion’s first game against the San Antonio Spurs, the Pelicans surrendered on average 117.6 points per game. Since Zion’s debut, the Pelicans have given up 114.4 points per contest.

  • The point total has opened above 230 in nine of the last 10 games involving the Pelicans. Williamson did not play in the one game in which oddsmakers set the total below 230.

  • The New Orleans Pelicans play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night. The Timberwolves have surrendered at least 120 points in six of their last eight games. VIEW LIVE ODDS

Points Are Flying in Pelicans Games

While offense has been easy to come by all season in games involving New Orleans, the scoring has especially been off the charts recently. In their last 10 games, the Pelicans have scored an average of 119.5 points per game and surrendered an average of 115.6 points per contest. On the season, the Pelicans score on average 115.8 points per game and give up on average 116.9 points per contest.

The Pelicans run their offense at an incredibly fast pace. They push the tempo at all times and do not allow their opponents to get fully set defensively in halfcourt possessions. The Pelicans play at the fourth-fastest pace in the league. They are also one of most prolific three-point shooting teams in the league and average the fourth-most three-point field goals per game.

The consequence to the Pelicans for playing at such a quick pace is that their opponents receive a lot of scoring opportunities. Pace is the number of team possessions per 48 minutes. Opponents of New Orleans will naturally score a lot of points per game because of the extra possessions caused by the Pelicans’ pace.

Zion Williamson’s Impact

No player has had a bigger impact on the Pelicans’ offense than Zion Williamson. The first pick of the 2019 NBA draft missed the first 44 games of the season. In those 44 games, the Pelicans averaged 114.4 points per game. Since Williamson debuted against the Spurs on January 22nd, the Pelicans have averaged 119.6 points per game. The Pelicans would be effectively tied with the Milwaukee Bucks in points scored per game if their scoring average since Williamson’s debut was extrapolated to an entire season. On the season, Williamson is averaging 24.1 points per game on 59.3% shooting in just 28.9 minutes.

What may be surprising is that the defense of the Pelicans has also improved since Williamson came off the injured list. In the first 44 games of the season without Williamson, the Pelicans gave up on average 117.6 points per game. Since Williamson’s debut, the Pelicans have given up on average 114.4 points per contest.

Looking Ahead

The scoring in games involving the Pelicans has placed oddsmakers and bettors in challenging spots. Oddsmakers have responded to the offensive surge by setting the opening point totals at 230 or above in nine of New Orleans’ last 10 games. The over has gone 6-4 during that stretch. Bettors should be cautious when betting on Pelicans totals. While New Orleans is an offensive machine with Williamson in the lineup, the Pelicans have also played slightly better defensively since his debut. 

Bettors need to consider the Pelicans’ opponent before placing a wager on an over. For example, neither of the Pelicans games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors came close to hitting the over. The Cavaliers and Warriors did not hold up their end of the bargain, scoring only 104 and 101 points, respectively. On Tuesday, their matchup against the Timberwolves is a confusing one, since Minnesota scored 91 points last time out, but scored 123 or more in their three previous games. Click the button below to unlock our model’s best bets, including the preferred over/under.