What do the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder have in common? Both should make the playoffs but both are now actively seeking out trades after losing a key player to a season-ending injury recently. The Thunder are home NBA betting lines favorites for Friday’s matchup.
Pelicans at Thunder NBA Betting Lines & Expert Pick – February 2ndWhen: Friday, 9 PM ETWhere: Chesapeake Energy Arena, OKCTV: NBA League Pass, FSN, FSOKStream: NBA League PassRadio: 99.5 WRNO FM (New Orleans) / (Oklahoma City)NBA Betting Lines: Thunder -6.5 (219)
Season SeriesThe teams have met once, a 114-107 Pelicans home win on Nov. 20. Anthony Davis had 36 points and 15 rebounds, Jrue Holiday added 18 points, and New Orleans rallied after DeMarcus Cousins’ ejection. Cousins had 18 points and nine rebounds before his ejection with five minutes remaining in the third quarter. Basically, Cousins swung around his elbow after grabbing a rebound and Russell Westbrook faked like he was hit in the head (i.e. he was flopping). Yet Russ was just fine to keep playing and finished with 22 points, 16 rebounds, 12 assists and three steals. Paul George hit six 3s en route to 26 points and Carmelo Anthony scored 19 for Oklahoma City.Since the team relocated from Seattle to Oklahoma City, New Orleans is now 12-19 against the Thunder. New Orleans Head Coach Alvin Gentry is 10-26 (.277) all-time against the Thunder, and Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan is 6-2 (.750) all-time against New Orleans.Of course, the New Orleans franchise relocated to Oklahoma City for two seasons (’05-’06 and ’06-’07) in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Why Bet on New Orleans?The Pelicans lost the All-Star Cousins last weekend to a season-ending Achilles’ tendon, but they aren’t giving up on the playoffs. On Thursday, New Orleans acquired stretch-4 Nikola Mirotic from Chicago for a 2018 protected first-round pick, center Omer Asik and guards Tony Allen and Jameer Nelson to the Bulls.None of the players were seeing time for the Pelicans so it’s a great trade for now, although losing that first-round pick could hurt down the road. The Pelicans’ first-round pick on its way to the Bulls is a protected top-5 selection in 2018, top-8 in 2019 and unprotected in 2020. Mirotic is a good 3-point shooter who was averaging 16.8 points and 6.4 rebounds since missing the first 23 games following injuries suffered in a practice fight with teammate Bobby Portis. The Pelicans are also planning to guarantee the $12.5M salary of Mirotic for the 2018-19 season, so this isn’t just a rental.
What Did New Orleans Have to Do For This Move?The Pelicans cleared a roster spot with this move, opening the door for them to also bring in Greg Monroe. He was waived by the Suns this week and is leaning toward signing with New Orleans, although probably not in time to play Friday. The veteran big man is a near double-double machine, and highly efficient around the basket — he shot over 60 percent during his time with the Suns this season.New Orleans has lost back-to-back games, both as home favorites vs. the Clippers and Kings, since losing Cousins to that injury. This season, the Pelicans are 10-4 when Holiday hands out at least seven assists on the night, and have won six of their last seven contests when Holiday hands out at least seven. Since Nov. 24, only Holiday and Stephen Curry have averaged at least 21 points per game while shooting over .510 from the field and .365 from long range.
Why Bet on Oklahoma City?Wait and see if the Thunder rest anyone here as it’s the second of a back-to-back after visiting Denver on Thursday. They lost defensive stalwart Andre Roberson to a season-ending injury last week. He was named to the 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive Second Team.Since Dec. 1, the Thunder have gone 22-9 (.710) entering, which ranks as the third-best record in that timeframe behind Golden State and Toronto, and has averaged 108.6 points per game and shooting percentages of .467 from the field and .358 from three-point range. Prior to the start of Dec., Oklahoma City was 8-12, averaging 102.3 points per game while shooting .437 from the floor and .346 from beyond the arc.
How Well Are the Players Doing in Oklahoma City?The Thunder have three players in the Top 5 league leaders as Russell Westbrook is first in the NBA in assists per game (10.1), Paul George has the most steals per game (2.17) and Steven Adams has the third-best field goal percentage (.640, 275-430 FG).George is currently averaging 21.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. That’s only 1.5 points than less season when he was the lone wolf on the Pacers. To go along with that, George also has 5.7 win shares this year, according to Basketball Reference. Long story short, George seems to fit alongside Westbrook and many think he will now re-sign with OKC this offseason. George is on pace to become just the fourth player in NBA history to average at least 20 points and 2 steals per game while shooting .420 or better from three-point range in a single season (Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Stephen Curry).
Latest NBA Betting Trends
- New Orleans is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games
- New Orleans is 7-3 SU in its last 10 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 7 of New Orleans’s last 9 games on the road
- Oklahoma City is 6-12 ATS in its last 18 games at home
- Oklahoma City is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games
- The total has gone OVER in 6 of Oklahoma City’s last 7 games