Suns vs. Pelicans NBA Odds, Preview and Prediction

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Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

The Phoenix Suns (28-8) look to get back on a winning streak against the New Orleans Pelicans (13-24) this Tuesday evening. The Pelicans had won five of their last seven games before losing to Utah on Monday night. New Orleans still has the second-worst record in the Western Conference while the Suns are right behind Golden State for the best start in the league.  Below, we’ll take a look at the early NBA odds and analyze this matchup.

Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Tuesday, January 04, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at Smoothie King Center 

The Suns (19-17 ATS) are a 7-point favorite over the Pelicans (16-21 ATS) at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. Phoenix won the first meeting, 112-100, at the beginning of November when both teams were off to slow starts to the season. Phoenix has since gotten red hot while the Pelicans continue to struggle without superstar Zion Williamson (foot) available.  

Last Meeting: Suns 112, Pelicans 100 

When these teams last met in Phoenix, the Pelicans jumped out to a 36-22 lead after the first quarter. But the Suns were able to get it together and finish strong in the fourth quarter, doubling up New Orleans 36-18 to get the 12-point win. 

Deandre Ayton and Cameron Payne were inactive for Phoenix that day while the Pelicans were without leading scorer Brandon Ingram. The Pelicans shot just 39.6% from the field and had 17 turnovers against Phoenix’s stingy defense. Phoenix’s star guard duo of Chris Paul and Devin Booker stepped it up in the rebounding department (15 between them) without Ayton available at the center. Paul was outstanding with a season-high 18 assists. The Suns shot 52.4% from the field with Mikal Bridges scoring a team-high 22 points. 

Phoenix is a perfect 24-0 when allowing fewer than 110 points this season, the best record in the NBA. Meanwhile, the Pelicans are 2-22 when they allow at least 105 points. Both sides of the court have been a problem for the Pelicans as they rank 25th in Offensive Rating and 24th in Defensive Rating. The Suns remain one of the best, most balanced teams in the league.  

Recent Play 

The Pelicans started 1-12 this season with Ingram missing a big chunk of those games, including the Phoenix loss. Since his return, the Pelicans are a more respectable 11-11 in their last 22 games with Ingram. An Achilles injury kept him out of two recent games, but he returned against the Jazz on Monday night. It did not go well as Ingram shot 3-of-18 from the field, including 1-of-7 from three. The Pelicans only made 26.1% of their three-point shots and they are 1-17 this season when shooting under 35% from three. 

The schedule makers are really testing New Orleans with this three-game homestand that started with Utah, continues with Phoenix, and ends with Golden State on Thursday. Those are only the three best teams in the conference, if not the league right now. New Orleans failed the Utah challenge, but it was respectable through three quarters before the Jazz pulled away late. 

Ingram’s 10 points were his third-worst scoring game of the season, but he also had an 11-point game in Utah just over a month ago. He should be better in this one as top players tend to bounce back. Phoenix’s Devin Booker had that poor shooting game (7-of-26) on New Year’s Eve in the loss to Boston. He bounced back the next game against Charlotte with 24 points on 9-of-19 shooting in a 34-point rout. 

But the fact is the Suns have a great record regardless of how (or if) Booker plays this season. Similar things can be said about Chris Paul, though the Suns are 2-5 when Paul does not shoot better than 40% from the field. That’s one of the only splits you can find where the Suns have a poor record this year as they are so well-coached. 

But even with head coach Monty Williams unavailable in the COVID protocol, Paul led the Suns to a 133-99 rout of the Hornets on Sunday. The Suns were also without starters Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder due to the COVID protocol. They may not be back for this one too, but as long as the Suns have Paul and Booker, that is enough to get by most teams. 

Prediction 

The shorthanded Suns are only 2-3 in their last five games, but they played some teams playing at a high level right now such as the Warriors and Grizzlies. The Pelicans are simply not on a roll as they rank 21st in Offensive Rating and 25th in Defensive Rating over the last five games. For the season, New Orleans is 28th in opponent FG% and 29th in opponent 3P%. 

Phoenix is 1-7 ATS as a favorite of 6-to-8 points this season, but it’s time for some regression there in this mismatch for New Orleans. I trust Paul to have another big assist game and lead the Suns to a cover for your NBA picks

NBA Pick: Suns -7 (-110) with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Suns -7 (-110)
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