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Pelican Prop Bets

The season's still young, so let's embrace our inner degenerate gambler!

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

[Editor's Note - Welcome Zachary Junda to The Bird Writes with his first article. Also, follow him on Twitter - @ZacharyJunda]

The Pelicans aren’t expected to win a championship this year.

VegasInsider has the Pelicans’ odds at winning the title this year at 70:1; they’re 30:1 odds to win the West. That’s as good as it gets for the Pelicans. Bovada, Oddsshark and IMB Times all have the Pelicans at 100:1 odds for winning a title this year.

It's impossible to beat casinos. Even if they're owned by Terry Benedict. So instead of wasting money on a foregone non-championship season, let’s make some wagers on things we think can happen and try and hustle a few bucks.


A Second Pelican makes the All-Star team: 30:1

Because betting that Anthony Davis makes the trip to New York is no fun. The only way Anthony Davis isn’t an All-Star is if he gets shipped off to China to play with Ron Artest, which actually sounds promising; The Brow and Artest on the same team? Yes please!

The only other New Orleans player with an All-Star appearance on their resume is Jrue Holiday. And unless Holiday turns into Oscar Robertson, its hard seeing him getting a spot in a conference that has Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker all playing the same position. Don’t count out Omer Asik though. If the good people of Turkey rally around their native son the same way the Chinese did for Yao Ming and Jeremy Lin then there’s potentially your second Pelican All-Star.

Anthony Davis finishes Top 5 in the MVP voting or Wins Defensive Player of the Year: 40:1

This will be tough if the Pelicans don’t make the playoffs. Your top five in MVP voting are almost always playing for division winners, and if they aren’t on a division winner, they’re definitely on a playoff team. But if Anthony Davis can drag the Pelicans to, let’s say, 45 wins, would he get MVP consideration? Especially after being the best player on a team that would, in this case, win 11 more games from the previous season? Ernie Banks won back-to-backs MVPs while playing for Chicago Cubs teams with losing records. Why can’t Davis finish at least fifth in MVP voting for a .500 Pelicans team?

The problem is that history shows us MVP voters don’t take too kindly to guys playing on losing teams. Check out the highest a player finished in the MVP voting for a non-playoff team from the past five seasons:



Voting Finish


Carmelo Anthony




Did not place


Kevin Love




Did not place



Did not place

Not exactly encouraging stuff huh? If AD wants MVP consideration, he has to get New Orleans to the playoffs.

As for Davis winning Defensive Player of the Year, I think he has better odds here than finishing Top 5 in MVP Voting. The variable here is where do the Pelicans rank defensively this year? If New Orleans is in the top half of the league defensively and Davis has another obscene year blocking shots then I like his chances. But if New Orleans is abysmal like last season, I don’t think it matters how many shots he blocks, he won’t win it.

Eric Gordon opts out of his contract: 25:1

Please? I don’t have anything else other than that. Please opt out, Gordon.

Jrue Holiday plays at least 70 games: 5:2

Jrue Holiday has been a relatively healthy player for his career. He’s played in at least 70 games three times, and during the lockout shortened year he started 65 of 66 games. Of 394 possible games through his first five seasons, Holiday’s played in 331 which comes out to be about 79 percent. This should be something you can take to the bank. The only hesitation worth noting is Holiday saying in late September that he was "70 to 75 percent" recovered from surgery to repair a fracture in his tibia. But so far he’s two-for-two in 2014. Count on him being there the rest of the way.


48.5 Wins for the Pelicans: I'm using 48.5 as the magic number because the Suns won 49 games last year and missed the playoffs. So, going back to our past five season sample size* here’s how many wins the No. 8 seeds have had: 49, 45, 46 50 and 50. On average that’s 48 wins per eight-seed.

(*Note to get a better estimate I’m swapping out the lockout shortened 2010-11 season for the 2007-’08 year.)

The Pelicans won 34 games last year. Does the addition of Asik, a rapidly maturing Anthony Davis and clean bills of health from Ryan Anderson, Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday get them at least 16 more wins? That’s a big jump and playing in the West that’d be borderline miraculous. Take the under on this one.

Finishing 9.5th in the West: a follow up to the previous question, if the Pelicans don’t get those 47 or 49 wins, where do they finish overall in the Conference? Minnesota, Denver and Phoenix all finished ahead of New Orleans. Of those three, how many can you definitively say New Orleans is better than right now? Minnesota for sure. Barring injury I’d think New Orleans is at least equal to Denver. But are we certain they’re better than Phoenix? It’s hard to say. Go with the under.

1.5: All-NBA Team Davis is voted to: this means if you take the over you’re saying Anthony Davis is going to finish Second Team All-NBA, Third team, or possibly not even place. Taking the under means you’re expecting Davis to be First Team All-NBA. Personally I think AD’s already the third best player in the league behind only LeBron and Durant, so taking the under is the easy answer. But, going back to the MVP question, how well are the Pelicans going to do this season? Does a super talented player on either a non-playoff or losing team make 1st Team All-NBA? Team performance is going to be what decides Davis’ fate so, to be safe, I’d take the over and say Davis finishes Second Team.

0.5: Number of children’s shots Davis blocks:

I’ll be honest, this is more of an excuse to show this terrific commercial than anything else. How great is this? I hope the over happens and Davis spends his volunteering time with NBA Cares blocking kids' shots.