Pelicans Poised for October Opening Surprise in Houston

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 4:17 PM UTC

Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018 4:17 PM UTC

The Pelicans were winless in the preseason but are hoping to start the regular campaign with a big road victory over a divisional rival. Let’s analyze Wednesday's matchup and see if this dog is alive or dead in their season opener in Houston.

New Orleans Pelicans at Houston RocketsWednesday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)Free NBA Pick: PelicansBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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The big news in the offseason was the departure of Boogie Cousins to – where else – Golden State. However, as talented as Cousins is, he is a polarizing figure and New Orleans just may learn that luring the 23-year-old Julius Randle away from the Lakers as he enters the prime of his career may reap long-term benefits that Cousins’ would not.

Regardless of who is on the frontcourt New Orleans has the best big man in the game in five-time All-Star Anthony Davis. The 2012 first-overall pick in the draft has had successive seasons averaging 28 points and 11 rebounds per game and his presence should enhance his new teammate Julius Randle’s performance. Let’s also not forget that point guard Jrue Holiday is coming off his best season as a pro, averaging 19 points per game and a .494 field goal percentage.

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Jrue to AD...in slo-mo #doitBIG pic.twitter.com/G0E6ZhuK77

— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) October 12, 2018
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The NBA odds board sees the major online sportsbooks dealing the Pelicans as 7 ½ point road dogs in the season opener and chances are that the public will be salivating at the prospect of laying the lumber on the Rockets. The reason being that the last meeting between these clubs at the Toyota Center saw the Rockets roll to a 114-91 victory as 8 ½ point home chalk. But let’s consider some intriguing trends that New Orleans has going for them as they enter their 2018 season debut. The Pelicans are 7-0 ATS in their last seven Wednesday games, 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games overall, 4-1 ATS in their last five vs. the NBA Southwest, and 7-1 ATS in their last eight road contests.

Houston comes into this one with superstars James Harden and Chris Paul as the lead dogs on this talented team. But signing Carmelo Anthony was a mistake as he is now injury prone and a shadow of his former self. This is a team that desperately needs defense not more offense and Melo wants none of it. In addition, the Rockets watched Luc Mbah a Moute dribble back to LA and sign with the Clippers while Trevor Ariza is now in Phoenix.

As we look forward to this matchup we know that Houston has dominated the series as they are 4-0 straight up and 3-1 against the spread over the last two seasons. But things could be changing for the better down on the bayou and we see these teams closer in talent than in the past. Anthony Davis will continue to dominate the paint and the Pelicans should be able to exploit a vulnerable Rockets’ defense. Let’s grab the points and include New Orleans in our NBA picks on Wednesday night.

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