Philadelphia 76ers vs New Orleans Pelicans Picks Spread and Trends to watch - 10/20/2021

by James Q

Philadelphia 76ers vs New Orleans Pelicans Picks Spread and Trends to watch - 10/20/2021

Game Time: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, October 20th, 2021 
Venue:  Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
Where to Watch: Local cable and NBA League Pass

Opening NCAAF Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Spread: 76ers -4.5:  O/U: 226.5
BetMGM:  Spread: 76ers -4.5:  O/U: 226.5
Caesars:  Spread: 76ers -4.5:  O/U: 226.5

Season Record

76ers:  0-0 (Eastern Conference) - finished 1st in the Eastern Conference last season with a 49-23 record.  They were bounced from the playoffs in the second round.

Pelicans:  0-0 (Western Conference) - finished 11th in the Western Conference last season with a record of 31-41.  Not only did they not make the playoffs… they didn’t make the playoff play-in tournament that many believe was specifically created to get Zion Williamson on TV!

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Nets vs Bucks Preview and Analysis. 


Both teams had tough offseasons.  The 76ers were knocked out of the playoffs and it became readily apparent once again that all-stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid don’t play well together.  The 76ers would have to choose between the two. Joel Embiid is a great player but he plays center which is a position that has been marginalized in the modern NBA.  Sure you want a good center, but you can win NBA rings with average center play surrounded by All-Star guards or/and All-Star forwards…. Yet Ben Simmons is the one that has to leave because he is the one that keeps shrinking away from the ball in important games.  He can’t shoot and he knows it.  The fans would burn the stadium if Philly kept Ben and traded Embiid.  So they looked for a trade package for Ben Simmons. They were a year too late... Other teams now know that Ben will burn up a lot of their cap space and will never be able to shoot… So while Ben is talented, absolutely no team in the league would pay what Phily wanted for a Max player that has such a big hole in his game.  No trade happened.  To make matters worse Ben Simons saw all of this and then declared he would never play for Philly again. He held out of Training camp and preseason trying to force a trade.  Then Philly stopped paying Ben and Ben immediately returned to the team.  For now Philly is stuck with B.S.

The Pelicans churned and burned their roster looking for a winning combination.  They traded C Steven Adams for C Jonas Valanciunas from the Memphis Grizzlies.  The traded PG Lonzo Ball to the Chicago Bulls for Garrett Temple, Tomas Satoransky, a 2024 second round pick and cash. So essentially they gave away Lonzo Ball to avoid having to sign him.  The Pelicans have always been a cheap organization playing in a market that couldn’t care less about basketball.  You can buy tickets to THIS GAME for as little as $8.  The average ticket price to a New Orleans Pelicans game wouldn’t get you parking in New York or LA. After all this turmoil, media leaks started from Zion Willamson’s family members.  They began saying that THEY didn’t want their NBA Superstar, former #1 overall pick, high flying, high scoring relative wasting his career (and endorsement value) in New Orleans.  Zion failed to dispute these statements and claims anywhere, which means he doesn’t want to be there either.  No NBA MVP type wants to be in a tiny city with no chance of ever winning.  The Pelicans should do themselves a huge favor and trade Zion or move to San Diego.

Offensive Analysis 

Last Season the 76ers scored 113.6 points per game for 14th in the NBA.  They were 22nd in the NBA in Assists with 23.7 assists per game.  The assists don’t make any sense since they had superstar Ben Simmons whose strength is his incredible court vision and passes?... Wait Ben Simmons only averages 6.9 apg! Not 10+ like James Harden… or Chris Paul or Steve Nash in their great passing seasons who routinely hit double digit averages… Why are they valuing this player that doesn’t even want to be there?  They have an MVP candidate center in Joel Embiid that combines with near all-star forward Tobais Harris for 52 points a game… you would think Philly would prioritize getting those two excellent players a point guard that wants to play and can open the court by shooting from outside the paint.

The Pelicans had a fantastic offense last season.  They were 9th in points per game 114.6 and 10th in assists per game 26 per.  Of course Lonzo is gone and Zion will be sidelined from a foot injury with no time table for a return... so these numbers will decline.  SF Brandon Ingram is the glue that holds this team together.  He averaged 23.8 ppg, 5 rbs, 5 ast during last regular season.  His stats make him a perfect 2nd star next to Zion if the team could ever finish building the rest of the roster.

Defensive Analysis

The Sixers excel on defense (partly due to Ben Simmons) allowing 109.4 ppg for 7th in the NBA.  They are 10th in rebounding netting 45.1 per game.

The Pelicans are terrible on defense and won’t be getting better after sending Lonzo Ball to Chicago.  They allow 115.1 ppg for 25th in the NBA


Brooklyn Nets vs Milwaukee Bucks Prediction 

Our prediction for Wednesday, October 20th is… 76ers 115 - Pelicans 94

This prediction is also a prediction for the Under.  The pelicans will be working new starters into the line-up practically everywhere.  Zion will be watching from the bench.  The shots will clank.  The 76ers will want to play Ben (if at all) and Joel separately and will pull them if they get a big lead.

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NCAAF Betting Trends

New Orleans is 2-0 ATS against Philadelphia the last 3 seasons.
Philadelphia is 58-51 ATS as a favorite over the last 3 seasons.

Injury Report:

Pelicans:  Zion Williamson (foot)... uggghh.  Zion will miss yet another nationally televised statement game in his short career.  A season opener is important to super fans. He is the reason people tune into Pelican’s games and buy tickets when the Pels come to town.  His family says they don’t want him playing in New Orleans and he doesn’t often even do that.  The team should cash his value now, while it is still tantalizingly high, in a trade for a star (or a few) that will actually play.  His absence is the reason you should bet on Philly for the win and not worry about the Spread.

Philly:  None reported…. Ben Simmons just joined the team after skipping the preseason and training camp in a hold out.  He is listed as Probable. He may not play if the team determines Ben is not ready to go yet. Plus he still doesn’t want to play for Philly so rejoining the team is all about giving Philly some leverage to find a decent trade destination.

Starting Lineups

PG: Devonte Graham
SG: Nickeil Alexander-Walker
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: Naji Marshall  (Zion’s spot)
C Jonas Valanciunas

PG:  Tyrese Maxey (if Ben doesn’t go)
SG: Seth Curry
SF: Danny Green
PF:  Tobias Harris
C :  Joel Embid

Statistical Leaders 

76ers:  (last season’s leaders)
Points:  Joel Embiid 28.5 ppg 
Rebounds: Joel Embiid 10.6 rpg
Assists:  Ben Simmons  6.9 apg
Steals:  Matisse Thybulle  1.6 spg
Blocks:  Joel Embiid  1.4 bpg

Points: Zion Williamson 27 ppg (injured)
Rebounds:  Steven Adams 8.9 rpg (gone from team)
Assists:  Lonzo Ball  5.7 apg  (gone from team)
Steals:  Lonzo Ball 1.5 spg  (gone from team)
Blocks:  Steven Adams 0.7 (gone from team)


76ers:  Doc Rivers.  Doc will go through the motions in early Sixers’ games all the while knowing that there is some team in North America that will eventually trade for Ben Simmons… and then Doc can move forward with the next Philadelphia 76ers starting lineup. Get thru Oct Doc… Hopefully it is all resolved by Dec.

Pelicans:  Willie Green.  Willie worked his way up to this job with assistant coaching stints with the Golden State Warriors, the Phoenix Suns, and 12 years of quality play for a variety of NBA teams.  He replaces Stan Van Gundy who mutually agreed to leave after just one season.  


James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

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