The New Orleans Pelicans recently threw sportsbettors everywhere for a loop. In 2014-15, after making the playoffs as the Western Conference's No. 8 seed, it looked like they were on the rise. They were not serious championship plays, but they were a team that figured to be a part of the postseason picture for years to come. But everything unraveled in 2015-16. Flawed personnel and injuries left them in the lottery. And now they're still left trying to forge a direction—and they've made a huge gamble in their attempt to do so. [+]

The Pelicans traded for DeMarcus Cousins, formerly of the Sacramento Kings, giving them, along with superstar Anthony Davis, the two best big men in the game. The possibilities are tantalizing on paper, but the team first needs to figure out how to make this pairing work.

That's going to take some time and the Pelicans must flesh out the rest of the roster around them before expectations are set too high. Cousins is also slated for free agency in 2018, another wrinkle you must consider when betting on futures; there's no guarantee he will stick around for long.

The Pelicans have swung for the fences. But doing so hasn't made them any easier to bet on in the immediate future.

New Orleans Pelicans Betting Lines Today

Any betting line information you need on the New Orleans Pelicans can be found just below. Make note of the overs, unders, spreads, moneylines and start times. [+]

If you're not someone who bets immediately after the lines are determined, it's good to revisit this page right up until you make your final decision. Game lines don't change too often during the NBA's regular season, but they can move, even if only slightly.

Keeping tabs on them here allows you to make the most informed decision possible, regardless of whether or not any tweaks are made by the sportsbooks.

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New Orleans Pelicans
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Here's a look at the New Orleans Pelicans entire game schedule, which also shows you the scores of past tilts, plus any forthcoming matchups on the docket. [+]

Don't make the mistake of undervaluing those past game scores. You can use them to construct a Pelicans betting blueprint. 

By looking at those scores, the teams New Olreans played and where the games took place, you can figure out things like the following: The Pelicans' performance against teams above and below .500; whether or not they cover the spread at home or on the road; how they fare when they're the favorites or underdogs on double digit spreads; and whether they have emerged as better over or under bets.

The results of these inquiries can then be applied to every single game bet you make on the Pelicans, increasing your chances of laying down an accurate gamble.

As for future matchups, strictly use those to plan ahead. It's a pain sometimes when the lines aren't available, but you can still compare roster makeups and play styles, basically guaranteeing you'll know how to bet once the odds are released.

Results / FixturesNew Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans Standings Right Now

Below you will find the New Orleans Pelicans' current place in the standings. This is excellent tool for any midseason futures bettors. [+]

See where the Pelicans sit in the Western Conference—inside, just outside or far away from the playoff picture. If they're within striking distance of a postseason berth, it might be a good idea to check their chances at making the playoffs and/or eclipsing the over on their win projections.

Once they become even more relevant, you'll want to measure their Western Conference and NBA title odds against where they stand relative to other formidable contenders. If their record holds up to these comparisions, you can be sure that their odds on these futures are worth a look.

StandingsNew Orleans Pelicans

How To Win At New Orleans Pelicans Betting

Investing in the New Orleans Pelicans figures to be touch-and-go for a while, at least looking ahead for the next year or two.

Let's assume the DeMarcus Cousins-Anthony Davis pairing is here to stay. If that's the case, it will take a while for the Pelicans to find a happy medium on offense. Both bigs can space the floor, but they're both also used to operating with the ball in their hands. That detracts from your space by default, since neither is going to command much attention as a catch-and-shoot sniper.

Defenses will conspicuously double-team whoever has the ball. This situation is exacerbated by the absences of talented shooters around both Cousins and Davis. They can't dump it off to a lurking marksman, because they don't really have one—at least not enough of them.

That's going to be the key for them moving forward. In the interim, they're good under bets by default. The defense was great before Cousins arrived, and not much has changed in the aftermath of his acquisition. Even though most teams feature a bunch of playmaking 4s that run counter to the Pelicans' model, Davis can chase around just about anyone, leaving Cousins to protect the rim, which he can do very well when he's engaged.

No changes to this blueprint will take effect until, again, the Pelicans get more shooters. That's when you'll want to take a step back and re-evaluate their over/under appeal.

It's also when you'll want to start inserting them into the futures equation. For the time being, you'll want to avoid win projections, as most sportsbooks will probably overrate them based on their talent alone, but not so much that you know their final tally will fall to the under.

Instead, depending upon how the Pelicans fill out the roster around Davis, Cousins and, presumably, Jrue Holiday, it's not a bad idea to use them as a super dark horse.

They won't be at the Golden State Warriors' or San Antonio Spurs' levels within the next year or two; they don't have enough spending flexibility to improve the roster by that much. But there's a chance they'll end up being a top-four Western Conference team almost from the jump, once they have had a training camp to get Davis and Cousins acclimated to one another.

If you're looking to throw some money at a lucrative Western Conference Finals or NBA Finals pick, knowing the odds are infinitely stacked against them, the Pelicans may just end up being your team.