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2015-16 Pelican Prop Bets

The season's almost here, time to preview the year the only way we know how: by gambling away our future children's college savings

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

We're almost there, y'all. The fun hating babies known as "baseball players" time in the spotlight is coming to a close. At least the Saints are doing a nice job of filling in the void and are rolling along nicely at 6-0.

**looks at calendar**

Wait, this isn't the year 2009. Drew Brees is 36, the offensive line is garbage, the defense is garbage squared, there's no Jimmy Graham, and the Saints, in addition to being 2-4, are in salary cap hell for the foreseeable future?


But you know what, I say forget the Saints. Basketball season's here, and for the first time since Chris Paul was a Hornet, New Orleans has a team that could do some really nice things. The Pelicans have all the pieces needed to push the Saints out of the driver's seat as the team in New Orleans: a new head coach known for producing fast, fun and effective offenses, a legitimate star locked up for the next five years and a strong supporting cast that can hold their own (that's if they're ever allowed to be totally healthy).

What's more, fans can tell something's brewing and they're getting excited. In a football-first state, Louisianians are finally checking out the whole basketball thing, and they like what they're seeing. I was at Game Four of the Pelicans-Warriors playoff series, and two things made me happy:

1) People were still hurt from the meltdown of Game Three. I view that as a step in the proper fandom direction. Of course it's okay to feel like Steph Curry ripped your heart out with his game-tying shot toward the end of regulation, that means you care. It's sort of like Monster's Inc. just in reverse: we're scared because we care.

2) On the way out of the Smoothie King Center after Game Four, nobody felt like this was the end of this Pelicans era. Instead there were excited murmurings. People were saying things like "If only we were healthy all year," and "if only Monty Williams wasn't coaching like he had been shot with rhinoceros tranquilizers." You have to lose before you can win. MJ had to lose to Isiah and the Bad Boy Pistons before he got his. LeBron had to overcome the bogeyman Celtics. Even the reigning champion Warriors had to take some lumps from the Spurs before winning the whole thing.

So if you have not totally bought in, just hang with them a little bit longer. Good things are coming, just be patient. Bovada has the Pelicans at +4,000 to win the title this year, the ninth best odds in all of basketball (Miami and Memphis are tied at +3,300 so technically 10th but I digress). That's a fair amount of love for a team that got swept in last year's playoffs and didn't secure their berth until game 82.

But as fair as those odds are you shouldn't put money on that. Unless you have Bill Simmons levels of degenerate gambling, don't touch that. Instead here's some bets you'd have a better chance at winning.


Anthony Davis PER- 29.5

Anthony Davis' 2014-15 season was a great one no matter how you look at it. For the first time in his young career, he led the league in PER with a rating of 30.8. A PER greater than 30 is like the baseball equivalent of hitting .400 or an NFL quarterback completing 70 percent of his passes. It may not happen all that often but when it does it's something special.

But how rare is having a PER greater than 30? Basketball-reference says it's only happened 17 times since 1946-47, that's pre-NBA by the way, and it's been done by eight guys including Davis. Here's the other seven:

  • Michael Jordan (four times)
  • LeBron James (four times)
  • Wilt Chamberlin (three times)
  • Shaquille O'Neal (two times)
  • David Robinson (once)
  • Dwyane Wade (once)
  • Tracy McGrady (once)
Impressive company, no? So what does history say about Davis' chances to get another 30+ PER season?

Davis' problem is that of the 16 previous instances of a 30+ PER season, McGrady, in 2002-03, is the only player to have ever done it in his age 22 going on 23 year. Remember this isn't a "will he ever do it again" bet, this is a "will he do it this upcoming season" prop.

So there's your conundrum: do you side with history or think that Davis has the ability to buck the trend? I love the dude, but I'm taking the under.

Playoff Seeding- 7.5

I think we can all agree that the Pelicans are a pretty safe pick to make the playoffs, right? Maybe not a definite lock, it did take them all the way to game 82 to finally clinch, but you'd feel better picking them to make it than say Utah or Phoenix.

Let's reverse engineer this: who do we think the Pelicans definitely won't finish ahead of? Golden State, San Antonio, the Clippers and Houston will all probably do so. From last year's playoff teams, that leaves Memphis, Dallas and Portland. I don't know if anyone else feels the same way, but I think Memphis and New Orleans are a toss up. Meanwhile, Dallas is disintegrating and Portland's about to fall off a cliff.

But what about the Thunder? I think, at least I think I do, a fully healthy Thunder team is better than the Pelicans. If nothing else, they'll get the luxury of beating up on the Northwest so they can inflate their record. But let's not forget that Kevin Durant's foot is apparently made out of glass that's been frozen in liquid nitrogen, so until I see a long-term healthy Durant, I'm skeptical to give them that much benefit of the doubt. I could keep waffling on this forever but right now I think I'll take the over.

Finish in Southwest- 3.5

By God, a parlay opportunity! So yeah continuing on from our talk in the last bet, we can all agree that New Orleans will finally climb out of the division's cellar and leapfrog Dallas. But what about Memphis? I don't think either can pass a reloaded San Antonio or Houston, so the two are almost definitely going to be fighting all year for playoff seeding. I think the window is closing on Memphis, even though they're bringing back just about their whole team. Roster continuity is big, but I have a feeling this is the year Memphis slips a little. Either way, this is going to be the most exciting race for a middle of the pack finish since that King of the Hill episode Hank and Dale battled for sixth place in mower racing.

WTF Losses- 6.5

Hey remember when the Pelicans were 5-10 on the road against the East last year? And that included losing games to the Knicks, Sixers, Hornets, Pacers, Magic, and Celtics? That was fun. That also almost cost them a playoff spot.

Can they do it again? Selfishly I hope they do because there's nothing better in sports than irrational losses. Championships? FOH. Losses that make you wonder how sadness and comedy can blend together so perfectly is what I live for.