The New Orleans Pelicans made the playoffs this season without Zion Williamson so there is reason to be excited about the future.
But they still had a losing record, so have a long way to go before they are considered title contenders.
With the addition of CJ McCollum for a full season and the 8th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Pelicans could get there, as they have the right combination of star power, defenders and role players to match up well with the top teams in the NBA.
That being said, the early 2022-23 NBA title odds were a bit surprising, as the books put the Pels among the top half of the teams in the NBA:
The New Orleans Pelicans opened with 33-to-1 odds to win the title, which might seem like a huge long shot, but consider that the Boston Celtics had the exact same odds entering this season and just ended up in the NBA Finals.
New Orleans Pelicans: 2022-23 title odds
There were some surprises in the odds outside of the top two teams. The books are definitely betting that the return of Kawhi Leonard will propel the Clippers into contention, and is giving them the same odds as the Milwaukee Bucks, which was a bit surprising.
Brooklyn at 8-to-1 seemed a tad generous considering that they were the 8th seed this season and have some big question marks. The Suns had the best record in the NBA this season but were given worse odds for next year.
The Los Angeles Lakers, who didn’t even make the play-in this season, were given better odds than the New Orleans Pelicans, and at 20-1, the Lakers are sure to get plenty of action from fans expecting Anthony Davis and LeBron James to be healthier next season.
The Pelicans are being given 33-to-1 odds, which seems about right considering where they are right now coupled with the expected return of Zion Williamson.
I actually think this is a sneaky good bet, as the NBA is wide open right now and the Pels aren’t that far behind the top teams when it comes to talent, they now just have to get it all on the floor at the same time.
I was somewhat surprised to see the Pels ahead of teams like Utah, Minnesota, Chicago and Toronto, who were all playoff teams this season so the books clearly expect New Orleans to improve next season and possibly surpass those teams in the standings.
Now might be the best time to bet on the New Orleans Pelicans, as the odds are still high for a team that is poised to make a big leap.