Numerous proposals have been floated by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in an effort to include as many as eight additional teams to the ones currently slated within the 16-team playoff format. In those creative scenarios, the Pelicans are likely to earn entry (according to Brian Windhorst).
The league is interested in such a route to not only promote fairness of an unfinished season but to also target stars from fringe playoff teams like Zion Williamson and Damian Lillard to help alleviate the losses in television, ticketing and merchandise sales.
But the NBA, NFL, MLB and MLS aren’t the only major entities suffering as a result of the suspensions of each respective league. Sports betting has also been substantially affected.
Now, as excitement ramps up towards some continuation of the NBA regular season and playoffs, gambling sites like MyBookie are looking to capitalize and get back into the practice of making money. And they’ve got their sights set on Zion Williamson, perhaps above all others.
Zion has attracted considerable attention among betting sites. Even at 19 years old, Zion has become one of the most polarizing athletes in the NBA. He’s drawn numerous off-court suitors, was awarded the highest rookie shoe deal ever and has emerged as one of the most lavishly endorsed NBA athletes with earnings in the $20 million range, according to Forbes.
Here are a few possessions where Zion went straight at Anthony Davis.— Preston Ellis (@PrestonEllis) February 26, 2020
Head oddsmaker David Strauss took some time to address Zion and why the action on him has been so profitable thus far in 2019-20.
From the moment Zion stepped on the court, bettors have increased their action on the Pelicans. New Orleans backers are 11-9 Against the Spread since Zion took the floor. However, if you bet Zion Total Points per Game when his minutes increased (At his avereage), you would be 8-3.
With this level of interest, MyBookie has taken the initiative and introduced playoff odds that should attract attention. Since the playoffs are no guarantee for the Pelicans, Strauss explains fans can get compelling odds if they assume the risk.
As with all future bets, all wagers have action and this case is no different. So long as the NBA awards a Champion no wagers will be refunded. It’s one of the reasons why the odds on the Pelicans are as high as they are, once the format is known they could have an easier path to the Finals and the odds will change to account for that.
As far as the odds themselves go, Strauss is expecting big things from Zion. His 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists came in just 29.7 minutes. Zion scored 20 points or more in 16 of his 19 contests and averaged 25 points per game in the 11 games in which he played 30 minutes or more.
Strauss expects an increased workload resulting in bigger on-court numbers.
Zion’s season average is affected by the reduced minutes he played to start his year. Over his last 11 games he put up 26.5 PPG, 6.28 RPG and 2.27 APG. As it’s the playoffs, I’d expect the increased point scoring to continue while rebounds and assists increase due to the nature of the playoffs. With the added rest and Zion’s youth, we are expecting big things.
It took Zion nine games to match Ja Morant's highest-scoring output this season (30).— Preston Ellis (@PrestonEllis) February 12, 2020
It's not too late. pic.twitter.com/70lgDuEKBi
He even threw in some triple-double action. Though a small sample size, Zion hasn’t come close to approaching such a milestone. He’s never dished out more than five assists in a game.
I prodded Strauss on the inclusion:
Gamblers love to bet YES on a player to record a Triple Double and we give them the opportunity. We’ll have single game wagering on free throws and three pointers made, the Triple Double prop is for the entirety of the playoffs.
Should the Pelicans sneak in, it’s reasonable to assume Zion won’t be racking up any triple-doubles, right?
Finally, Strauss gave bettors the chance to win big by throwing in some prospective Finals odds. Should the Pelicans do the unthinkable, it isn’t outlandish to think Zion will emerge as their best player in a penultimate series against an Eastern Conference champion. After all, Zion led the Pelicans in scoring, usage and plus-minus since January 24th.
Zion as Finals MVP
Sitting outside of the playoff picture at the moment, the Pelicans are a long shot no matter how you look at it. Our odds at 100/1 take this in to effect, the Pelicans have a long road ahead of them where they’ll have have to face Lebron and the Lakers or Kawhi and Clippers before they take the Championship.
With the nation in a desperate state, MyBookie is offering an opportunity for diehard fans to get back into sports and the business of predicting the future. For those nervous to take the risk in the event the NBA opts to just employ the 16-team format, Strauss assures more Pelicans’ related opportunities will take root soon. Could Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball emerge as Most Improved candidates? Should David Griffin be an overwhelming favorite for executive of the year?
As the NBA prepares to return to play, we prepare the odds for the games. We’ll have an lines on all the awards and additional playoff props as soon as the NBA announces how they will complete the season.
So, what do you think of these odds? Fun to imagine Zion scoring 24 points with seven rebounds and 2.5 assists throughout a playoff series, no? Drop in the comments which odds you think are most compelling!
Let’s geaux, Pels!