The NBA season is finally upon us, and while I’m not going too heavy on the futures market, there is one team that jumps out to me to make in multiple ways on DraftKings Sportsbook. We’ll break them down below, along with a play for opening night in the NBA.
I’m considering a couple more NBA futures, but if I get around to actually playing them, I’ll likely release a short article or just post to twitter.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Last season my largest futures wager in the NBA was the Pelicans to finish under 39.5 wins, and it got home. They finished 36-46, but did actually make the play-in round and grind out two wins to make the postseason. They took the Suns to six games, and actually finished the season with a ton of momentum.
Remember, this is a team that began the year 4-16 — Zion Williamson missed the entire season, Brandon Ingram was often injured and CJ McCollum was still a Blazer. The Pels battled their way to 18-32 by the end of January, but then acquired McCollum and finished the season on an 18-14 run.
I love the momentum New Orleans brings into this season, and now all the top-end talent is in place and healthy, along with a deep roster of high-energy role players.
Let’s start at the top — Zion’s return is massive, and gives this team the stud it needs. Ingram and McCollum can be go-to scorers, while Zion bullies the paint and finds ways to finish at the rim. That trio gives you a do-it-all combination that should thrive together.
Jonas Valanciunas is a beast in the middle, and helps give this team something none of those other stars can provide. Herb Jones will round out the starting five as a guy that can limit opposing wings on a nightly basis, and knock down open shots. Love the dynamic of the starters.
Not only does this team know how to win without Zion when he inevitably takes “load management” games off, but it has also gotten even deeper to fill in for Zion. Here are the bigs this team brings off the bench — Larry Nance Jr., Willy Hernangomez and Jaxon Hayes (who will miss a little bit of time to start the season). That’s good, deep talent.
On the wings, the Pels also have plenty of depth. Naji Marshall provided a spark last season, and can be a backup to both Jones and Zion. Devonte’ Graham could be a sixth-man candidate, bringing scoring off the bench at both guard positions. Tre Murphy provides a scoring backup for both Ingram and Jones. Jose Alvarado is one of the scrappiest players in the NBA, and will be a pest to opposing point guards in stints. Garrett Temple gives them a veteran guard to change things up when they need him. And we haven’t even mentioned two lottery picks still sitting on the bench — Dyson Daniels could be ready to contribute this season, and Kira Lewis Jr. is expected to return from a torn ACL sometime around the top of 2023.
The Pelicans have talent, depth and they are hungry to win. Love their outlook this season.
I just broke down the win total, so not much to add here. This team has the feel of a breakout season, so I do think they can surpass their win total by more than four wins, and even crack 50-plus for the season. Getting +200 here is worth getting in on.
Why waste any time? Let’s get to backing New Orleans in games right away. The Pelicans open the season as dogs in Brooklyn against the Nets. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are back, but not by choice. This Nets team still isn’t going to be right to begin the year in my opinion, so a matchup against one of the teams I’m highest on is the perfect spot.
In their first two preseason games, the Nets lost the first half with their full rotation in to the Sixers, who sat Joel Embiid and James Harden. They followed it up by facing the Heat (without Irving), and getting smoked again. Ben Simmons is certainly not the savior, and I expect chaos as soon as the going gets tough for the Nets.
I’ll gladly take the points and get on the moneyline here. Honestly think the Pelicans could blow the Nets out here.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment.