On Wednesday night, the New Orleans Pelicans will play host to the Philadelphia 76ers at the Smoothie Kings Center. This game represents the season opener for both teams.
Let’s get into our Sixers-Pelicans betting pick with player prop predictions, odds, and analysis for this October 20, 2021 matchup.
Sixers vs. Pelicans Betting Pick (October 20, 2021)
“CLAP YOUR HANDS, EVERYBODY, FOR PHILADELPHIA 76ers!”
Not you, Ben Simmons. Not you. You’re sitting this one out. In fact, when they sing “1, 2, 3-4-5, Sixers,” these days they’re basically counting off the hundreds of thousands (could be millions, ultimately) you’ve given away with this non-holdout holdout.
Anyway, we all get to spend a few hours not thinking about the Simmons fiasco Wednesday night as the Sixers travel to New Orleans to open the regular season against the Pelicans. We’re sure there won’t be any overreactions about the outcome of this game in Sixerland, win or lose, because it’s such a chill fan base.
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L’affaire Simmons aside, it was a relatively calm offseason for the Sixers. Doc Rivers is back as head coach. Danny Green and Furkan Korkmaz re-signed and are also back. The biggest free agent signing (literally and figuratively) was Andre Drummond, who was brought in as a younger, less unusual version of what Dwight Howard did backing up Joel Embiid last season. First-round pick Jaden Springer looked pretty lively in the Summer League, but then again, just about everyone looks pretty lively in the Summer League.
The Pelicans had an addition-by-subtraction summer. Lonzo Ball was spoiling for a big-money extension from New Orleans, which was something considering that the Pelicans won 31 games and missed the playoffs. That begs the question of exactly how valuable Ball was or could possibly be. Ball now heads to his third NBA team in five seasons. Unfortunately for the Pelicans, Zion Williamson has been bitten again by the injury bug – he will begin the season continuing to rehabilitate the right foot injury which required offseason surgery. In the short term, this makes the Pelicans Brandon Ingram and a bunch of guys. That fact is reflected in the odds.
Sixers vs. Pelicans Odds
Here’s the line for the Sixers and Pelicans at FanDuel Sportsbook:
- Spread: Sixers -3, Pelicans +3
- Moneyline: Sixers -154, Pelicans +130
- Total: 225.5
Bets We Like With a Sixers Win
Sixers to Win and Over 225.5 Points (+237, FanDuel Sportsbook)
Past Sixers previews have relied heavily on the performances of Embiid and Simmons, and this one is no different with the proviso that it’s the absence of Simmons that helps to drive the over. Embiid and his teammates are going to be insanely motivated to prove that not only are they a great team with Simmons, they’re damn good without him, too. But there’s not much the Sixers can do about what not having Simmons on the floor is going to do to their team defense.
Last season, the Sixers were fourth in the league in field-goal percentage against and fourth in points against. In a related story, Simmons was not only All-Defensive First Team, he received a vote on all of the 100 ballots cast.
If the Pelicans had Ball distributing and Zion occupying the dunker spot, the Sixers would probably need to play Matisse Thybulle so many minutes that their offense would suffer. But the Pelicans project to be fairly easy to contain. As such, the Sixers can let Tyrese Maxey and Seth Curry run for much of the game. That should up the Sixers’ point totals. The Sixers allowed over 107 points per game on the road last season, and that number should only go up without Simmons. The over might be an easier call than the Sixers win, but we like them both.
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Joel Embiid Over 10.5 Rebounds (+100, Barstool Sportsbook)
In case you’re wondering, Embiid has had enough of Ben’s BS:
"At this point I don't care about that man, honestly. He does whatever he wants."
–Joel Embiid on Ben Simmons pic.twitter.com/XELROkUphX
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 19, 2021
That scowl, and the absence of Williamson, and the fact that the Pelicans are going to be checking Embiid with the likes of Jonas Valanciunas and Willy Hernangomez, all spell trouble for the Pelicans. Additionally, Simmons averaged over seven rebounds a game last season. Embiid is going to get his share of what Simmons won’t while Simmons sits out.
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Seth Curry Over 2.5 Three-Pointers Made (-115, BetMGM)
The Pelicans conceded over a thousand three-point field goals (1,043, to be exact) in 82 games. That averages out to 12.7 made triples against the Pelicans every game. Curry shot 4.9 threes per game last season, making 2.2 per game. Curry projects to shoot even more three-point shots this season as long as Simmons isn’t on the floor.
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Brandon Ingram Over 23.5 Points (-115, Caesars Sportsbook)
With Ball long gone and Williamson sidelined, someone will have to score points for the Pelicans in this matchup. Ingram was the team’s second-leading scorer last season at 23.8 points per game (Williamson averaged 27.) And it’s not like Ingram projects to have a lot of competition for the ball. After Williamson and Ingram, the Pelicans’ leading scorers last season were Ball and the also-departed Eric Bledsoe. Ingram might get to this number in three quarters.
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Sixers vs. Pelicans Prediction
There are no sure things, but the Sixers moneyline looks very safe. This is a bad Pelicans team that did not improve in the offseason and is playing without its best player. The chaos around the Simmons situation is the only thing that kept this moneyline from approaching -200.
Pick: If you like the Sixers moneyline, a parlay with Embiid over 10.5 rebounds (a sensible outcome if the Sixers win) would pay +194 at FanDuel Sportsbook.
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