The Pelicans and Jazz are kicking off the NBA restart at the Orlando Bubble, and all eyes are on rookie PF Zion Williamson. He’s been given center stage and it’s clear that the National Basketball Association and its affiliates believe him to be the next ambassador for the league. Less than 24 hours from tipoff, Zion is the only Pelican listed on the official injury report, due to re-conditioning. He is a game-time decision.
New Orleans Pelicans vs Utah Jazz Betting Rundown
The Jazz, despite having the 4th best record in the Western Conference and 13 more wins than the Pelicans, are underdogs as of the writing of this article. Let’s explore the reality of the matchup and what it means for the bets you want to place on the game. We have all of the current NBA betting odds available 24/7.
Utah Jazz Lineup
Utah’s two superstars, C Rudy Gobert and SG Donovan Mitchell, weren’t getting along even before Gobert acted so flippantly with regards to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocol. Shortly after his idiotic performance with the media that day, Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. Mitchell tested positive in the following days as well, and the two teammates didn’t speak for several weeks after that.
Mitchell, the clear franchise player for Utah going forward, says of his relationship with Gobert, “Right now, we’re good. We’re going out there ready to hoop.” The Jazz hope so. Mitchell leads the team in scoring with 24.2 points per game this season, and Gobert averages 15.1 points and 13.7 rebounds per contest. Nevertheless, they need to gel if the Jazz are to go deep this year.
SF Bojan Bogdanovic averaged 20.2 points/ game before suffering a wrist injury that ended his season. SF Joe Ingles will be counted on to fill Bogdanovic’s shoes with a little help from PGs Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson.
New Orleans Pelicans Lineup
Since Zion Williamson debuted in January, the Pelicans have a winning record. He’s second in scoring on the Pelicans with 23.6 points per game, only trailing All-Star SF Brandon Ingram (24.3 point/game), who is having a career year for New Orleans. These two forwards pack a real punch on the court.
The SGs, Jrue Holiday and J.J. Redick, combined to contribute 34.5 PPG and 8.9 assists per game. PG Lonzo Ball captains the ship and sets the tone for the offense. Overall, the Pelicans are healthy and have a well-balanced team.
Pelicans vs Jazz Head-to-Head This Season
Utah leads the season series 2-1 heading into this matchup. Without Rudy Gobert, the Jazz won 128-120 on November 23rd at Vivint Smart Home Arena. For the Pelicans, no Zion yet. Utah took the game in New Orleans on January 6th 128-126 in a thriller, with Gobert blocking Brandon Ingram on a drive that would have tied the game to end regulation. Many folks think that Gobert fouled Ingram on the play, and after looking at the replay he did hit Ingram on the wrist, but the non-call was upheld to the dismay of the Smoothie King Center crowd. Zion did not play.
The next time the two teams clashed in New Orleans, the outcome would be different. On January 16th, the Jazz and Pelicans duked it out in an electrifying slugfest that went into overtime. Ingram would not be denied on this night, scoring a career-high 49 points on the Jazz and ending the 10-game winning streak they entered the building with. Again, no Zion…
Keys to Pelicans vs Jazz Matchup
Pelicans C Derrick Favors will likely struggle against the size and strength of two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert. That will hurt New Orleans a bit, but everything else points to a decisive Pelicans win.
The Jazz have a cold war going on in the locker room between All-Stars Gobert and Mitchell, no matter what they say. It’s a personality clash similar to Kobe Bryant & Shaquille O’Neal, minus the NBA titles. Rudy Gobert is an arrogant Frenchman and Donovan Mitchell is a classy franchise player that you’d want to build a dynasty around. It’s reasonable to think that Gobert won’t be playing in a Jazz uniform next season. Mitchell is the keeper here, but I digress. The animosity between the players will unquestionably come out on the court, and this damages Utah’s odds for winning the game.
Utah is also without SF scoring machine, Bojan Bogdanovic, and losing his 20 points per game will prove to be fatal. However, the Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram is averaging a jaw-dropping 39 points/ game vs the Jazz and only seems to be getting better with time. Factor in the presence of rookie phenom PF Zion Williamson (he WILL play) and the momentum building in New Orleans’ favor, and it all adds up to a decisive Pelicans victory to restart the NBA season. As Cuban gangster Tony Montana would say, “Go Pelican!!!”