Pelicans vs. Bulls Betting Preview: Bet New Orleans As Road Favorites

Chris Baker breaks down Wednesday's NBA matchup between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Chicago Bulls and shares his best bet.

Pelicans vs. Bulls Odds

Pelicans Odds -1.5
Bulls Odds +1.5
Over/Under 229.5
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The New Orleans Pelicans, coming off back-to-back losses, look to close out their three-game road trip Wednesday with a win against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.

Both of these teams have gotten off to solid starts despite having injuries to major players. This should be a great game between two star-studded teams that both rank among the top 10 in Net Rating.

Let’s dive into these teams and see which side has the edge in this matchup.

Pelicans Will Generate Quality Looks at the Rim

The Pelicans came out of the gates hot by winning four of their first six games despite missing Brandon Ingram and Herbert Jones for a number of those contests.

They have stalled a little bit over the past week while losing three of their last four games, including some losses to bad teams like the Lakers and Pacers. They now have a .500 record but still rank eighth in Adjusted Net Rating on the season despite being one of the most injured teams so far this year.

Those losses don’t particularly concern me, and I expect this Pelicans team to be fine in the long run and have some success here against the Bulls.

Offensively, the Pelicans should generate quality looks at will versus this Bulls team that has struggled to take away the rim. The Bulls rank 23rd in Rim Frequency on defense while the Pelicans rank fourth in Offensive Rim Frequency, taking about 40% of their shots at the rim.

Zion Williamson and Jonas Valanciunas should wreak havoc on the offensive glass and in the paint against this Bulls team that lacks any serious rim protectors. The Bulls’ defensive struggles in the paint are not a new development as they ranked dead last in the NBA in Rim Frequency Allowed in 2021-22.

The Bulls just don’t have a ton of size besides Nikola Vucevic with Andre Drummond out of the lineup due to injury right now. Expect the Pelicans to have success in the paint on Wednesday.

Will the Bulls Offense Take More 3s?

The Bulls also sit at .500 and rank in the top 10 in Adjusted Net Rating like the Pelicans. They have also been one of the most injured teams this season as star Zach LaVine has missed time, and key bench pieces Coby White and Andre Drummond have been out the past few games.

Unlike the Pelicans, it has been their defense that has carried them as they rank fourth in Adjusted Defensive Rating on the season, per Dunks And Threes. Their offense has struggled but still ranks 18th in points per 100 possessions despite missing LaVine for a multitude of games. It’s certainly reasonable to expect this offense to get better as they get healthier, but I don’t see them exploding here against this Pelicans defense.

The Pelicans defense struggles to defend the 3-point line as they rank 24th in Opponent 3-point Frequency. They are certainly vulnerable when playing great 3-point shooting teams, and was put on display on Monday night as the Pacers made 22-of-48 3s against them. The problem for the Bulls offense is that they rank just 28th in 3-point Frequency and don’t have a plethora of elite 3-point shooters with White out of the lineup.

The Bulls rank first in Long Midrange Frequency and seventh in Midrange Frequency, but the Pelicans have actually done a good job of limiting these shots. I don’t expect this Bulls offense to be particularly efficient here.

On the other end of the floor, I expect the Bulls to struggle in the paint, as discussed above, but I also don’t see them being particularly elite on the perimeter either. CJ McCollum should draw either Ayo Dosunmu or Zach LaVine as his matchup, and I am not a believer in either of these guys on the defensive end of the floor. He may also see a dose of Goran Dragic, who can’t defend effectively at this point of career.

Outside of Alex Caruso, this Bulls team lacks perimeter defenders, and that should hurt them in this one against a Pelicans team that excels at getting to the bucket.

Pelicans-Bulls Pick

I really like the Pelicans to bounce back in this spot. They have terrific matchup advantages on both ends of the floor and significantly fewer question marks in terms of injuries right now.

The Pelicans’ second unit is one of the better units in the NBA and should have an advantage over this Bulls team that is missing arguably their two most important bench players in White and Drummond. Trust the Pelicans to get the cover on Wednesday night.