Certain teams overperform compared to their expectations, while others underperform. In an early-season battle of opposite proportions, the overperforming Washington Wizards travel to the underperforming New Orleans Pelicans. In this prediction, let's dive into the Wizards vs. Pelicans matchup and determine the best bet for this Wednesday Night NBA prediction.
Wednesday Night NBA pick: Wizards vs. Pelicans Prediction
After the offseason trade of Russell Westbrook, Washington was looking to start fresh and brought in plenty of pieces to fill out their roster. New Orleans entered the season without superstar Zion Williamson and will still be without him for another few weeks.
Without John Wall and Russell Westbrook, the Wizards put all their eggs into Bradley Beal's basket. To this point in the season, it seems like a beneficial decision for both parties. Washington opened the 2021 season with a 10-3 record and, for a moment, owned the best record in the Eastern Conference. However, they have struggled over the last week and have lost 3 of 4 during that span.
Although the Wizards have looked good thus far, their advanced metrics leave much to be desired if they want to make a legitimate push and be a threat in the East this season. Washington is below average in every offensive metric besides their free throw rate, ranking 7th overall. Their effective field goal percentage (eFG%) is 18th in the league. They turn the ball over at the league average and rank in the bottom ten at offensive rebounding.
The Wizards' defense is something of an anomaly as well. They have the best defensive eFG% in the NBA and the 7th best defensive rebounding numbers but are the third-worst at causing turnovers and are sending too many opponents to the free-throw line on defense. This game may come down to how Washington handles the free throw rate and rebounding on both sides of the ball.
Home Cooking in Louisiana
When things look grim for teams, lines adjust, and opportunities arise for those bottom-tier teams. Tonight presents one of those opportunities for New Orleans. The season is spiraling out of control for the Pelicans, and they have already dropped 16 games this season compared to 3 wins. New Orleans misses Williamson, but with the season beginning as it has, it remains to be seen if he will come back any time soon.
Regarding advanced metrics, the Pelicans don't have much to boast about. They rank bottom five in both offensive eFG% and turnover rate but are top 5 in offensive rebounding. It will remain to be seen how New Orleans' elite offensive rebounding competes against Washington's dominant defensive rebounding stats. With the Wizards allowing a high free throw rate on defense, the Pelicans will need to get to the line often to stay in this game.
Defensively, New Orleans needs to bring more tenacity into this game. They allow the 7th highest eFG% and cause the 5th fewest turnovers. Regarding their defensive rebounding and free throw rate, the Pelicans rank in the middle of the league. As mentioned before, I believe rebounding and free throws will be some of the most significant factors in tonight's game.
Wizards vs. Pelicans Prediction and Pick
Professional NBA teams don't lose every game unless they're tanking, of course, and I think it's too early in the season to consider the tank scenario. The Pelicans are at home, and home cooking is the perfect recipe to fix some efficiency flaws with the Wizards entering the first game of their 4-game road trip.
New Orleans can come out hot in this game and with the expectation that Brandon Ingram will eventually turn it on and revert to the elite performances that we have become accustomed to with him. This is a very short line for the "worst team in the league" versus a Washington team that has received a lot of hype during this early season. Take the Pelicans +4 at the FanDuel Sportsbook, and don't be surprised if the Pelicans come out and win this game outright.
Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook today and get your first bet risk free for up to $1,000!