Could Zion Williamson Injury Cost New Orleans Pelicans vs. the Detroit Pistons?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jan 11, 2023 07:00 PM
Could Zion Williamson Injury Cost New Orleans Pelicans vs. the Detroit Pistons?

Injuries to superstars Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram should technically threaten to torpedo the New Orleans Pelicans season. But they haven't.

Entering their showdown with the Detroit Pistons, the Pelicans are eight games over .500, with one of the NBA's top six-point differentials per 100 possessions. More impressive still, New Orleans has won the minutes they've played without both Zion and Ingram on the court. Most teams would fold if they lost their two best players for an extended period of time. The Pelicans are instead posting highly attractive odds to make the 2023 NBA playoffs.

Whether this rosy outlook scales to New Orleans' matchup with Detroit is a different story. The Pelicans are coming off a loss to the Boston Celtics, and they have seen their offense struggle without their two best playmakers to carry them through dry spells. And yet, linemakers don't appear concerned—not even with New Orleans playing on the road. Just look at the latest online NBA betting odds for the Pelicans vs. Pistons game, courtesy of the folks over at BetUS:

New Orleans Pelicans-210+240Detroit Pistons

Definitely remember to double-check these online NBA betting odds until you actually submit your Pelicans vs. Piston's bets. Our betting odds for the Pistons vs. Pelicans game are accurate entering the morning of Thursday, January 12. Detroit and New Orleans, meanwhile, will not face off until Friday, January 13, at 7 p.m. EST. And any time you're dealing with NBA betting lines that were published more than 24 hours prior to the opening tip-off, there are bound to be small tweaks made to the initial lines.

Fortunately, anyone who registers with the right odds provider doesn't have to worry about missing out on last-minute changes. And that's why we've put together reviews of the top online sportsbooks—to help everyone easily spot the best online NBA betting sites around.

So, what are the best bets for Pistons vs. Pelicans? You can find it out below.

Are the Shorthanded New Orleans Pelicans at Risk of Losing to the Detroit Pistons?

If you have a case for why the Pistons will beat the Pelicans on Friday night, please let us know because we can't find one.

Never mind that New Orleans doesn't have their two best players. The Pistons will be without Cade Cunningham, who is no worse than their second-best player and is slated to miss the rest of the season after undergoing shin surgery. Without him, Detroit has struggled mightily to settle on an offensive pecking order. Cunningham, a sophomore, isn't yet an efficiency guru, but he knows how to manage half-court possessions.

The Pistons have also struggled a great deal on the defensive end this year. Head coach Dwane Casey has tried out a bunch of different schemes, including some heavy switching, and most of the team looks flat-out confused. You may not need to be perfect against a Pels squad that doesn't have Zion or Ingram, but you need to be better than awful. And, well, Detroit's defense is caps-lock AWFUL.

OSB Prediction: New Orleans Pelicans (-210)

New Orleans Pelicans To beat the Detroit Pistons

And the Best Bet to Cover the Point Spread in Pelicans vs. Pistons is...

Here is the latest NBA point spread betting odds for the Pelicans vs. Pistons game on Friday night:

  • New Orleans Pelicans, -4.5 (-110)
  • Detroit Pistons, +4.5 (-110)

In all honesty, the point spread for this game feels artificially deflated. The Pelicans should be favored by at least 6.5 points, in our opinion.

Injuries to Zion and Ingram no doubt invited more point-spread bets on the Pistons. The game is also taking place in Detroit, and New Orleans is a troubling 8-12 away from home.

That's not enough evidence for us to reconsider. There are warts galore inside the Pelican's offense when they operate without Zion or Ingram for long stretches, but CJ McCollum has done a terrific job leading the charge on his own. Entering their game with the Pistons, New Orleans is pumping in a whopping 115.6 points per 100 possessions when McCollum is on the hardwood without both Zion and Ingram. The Pelicans should be able to eat the Pistons' defense for breakfast and win this game by at least five points.

OSB Prediction: New Orleans Pelicans, -4.5 (-110)

New Orleans Pelicans To cover the point spread vs. the Detroit Pistons

Brace Yourself for a Low-Scoring Affair Between New Orleans and Detroit

Below you can see the latest NBA over/under betting odds for the Pistons vs. Pelicans game on Friday night:

  • Over 223.5 (-110)
  • Under 223.5 (-110)

The "under" is calling to us in this game, which speaks to the thorniness of the Pistons' situation. They have now dropped to 29th in points scored per possession and have no path toward immediate improvement without making a trade.

Sure, veteran Bojan Bogdanovic has provided some true lights-out shooting over the year. But Cunningham leaves Detroit without an even-keeled steward to steer the offense. Killian Hayes and rookie Jaden Ivey can try, but neither has the half-court scoring chops to go bucket for bucket with someone like McCollum when the games are on the line.

There is always the chance New Orleans' offense blows the door off the hinges and prompts an "over" finish. But without Zion or Ingram, they're more likely to ratchet down the pace and protect whatever lead they jump out to—and rest assured, and they will jump out to a lead.

OSB Prediction: Under 223.5 (-110)

Pelicans and Pistons To score under 223.5 points combined

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your NBA betting:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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