Can Pelicans rise up without Zion Williamson vs. Rockets? Best Bets for Wednesday (Jan. 4)

New Orleans Pelicans guard Trey Murphy III (25) reacts after making a 3-point basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in New Orleans, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Wednesday, Jan. 4:


The play: NBA, Pelicans -7 over Rockets

The odds/bet: -110

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time: 8 p.m.

Our take: Plenty has been made over Zion Williamson being out likely for at least the remainder of the month, and rightfully so. When will Brandon Ingram be back? Well, it won’t be tonight. So that means the Pelicans should struggle now, right?

Not so fast.

Also known is that New Orleans is 4-1 this season when Williamson and Ingram don’t play, and with solid leadership in Coach Willie Green, one can expect this deep team to rally with their top two stars sidelined. It starts here against a team that has lost four consecutive games with three of those coming by 15 or more.

The Pelicans, meanwhile, have won four consecutive games at the Smoothie King Center with all but one of those by nine points or more.


The play: NBA, Pelicans’ Trey Murphy to score more than 15.5 points

The odds: -106

The book: FanDuel

Our take: As we said, someone is going to need to step up. While the obvious choice is CJ McCollum, it is Murphy who has shown he can be key when needed.

Not only that, one can expect him to play in the neighborhood of 33 to 35 minutes or so. With that added responsibility, going 3 points his average of 12.7 per game seems like a much better than 50-50 chance, which means at -106, we’re getting great value.


Tuesday’s best bets

NBA: Celtics -8.5 over Thunder (LOST)

NBA: Kings +3.5 over Jazz (WON)

Tuesday’s record: 1-1

Total for the week: 3-1

Total for January: 3-3

Total for 2023: 3-3

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, a $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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