Thunder vs. Pelicans Expert Picks - April 12th, 2023
THUNDER VS. PELICANS EXPERT PICK - APRIL 12th, 2023 - The Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans conclude the first round of Play-In games on Wednesday night in Louisiana. The loser goes home, and the winner faces the loser of the Timberwolves-Lakers game.
Let’s examine this matchup.
When: Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at 9:30 PM ET
Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
Public Bets: Thunder, 53%
Public Money: Thunder, 62%
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of April 10, 2023
Oklahoma City Thunder vs New Orleans Pelicans Season Trends
The Dallas Mavericks surprising tanking efforts down the stretch were good news for both of these teams. The Pelicans finished 3-2 in the last five games with wins over the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, and New York Knicks.
Zion Williamson won’t return, and the latest updates suggest that he isn’t even close to a return. However, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum have been leading the way and Trey Murphy III has emerged as a viable third option in NOLA.
The Thunder have been off and on down the stretch but are one of the more exciting teams in the NBA. Furthermore, the Thunder have made the playoffs with one of the youngest rosters and without No. 2 pick Chet Holmgen for the entire season.
OKC won the final two games against the Grizzlies and the Utah Jazz to secure the 10th spot, and now they travel to New Orleans for a must-win game.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New Orleans Pelicans Head-To-Head & Betting Trends
The Thunder and Pelicans have met three times this season with New Orleans winning all three matchups. The first matchup, New Orleans won by four points with Zion Williamson leading the way. He missed the second matchup as the Pelicans won by three points in a 128-125 final score.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander dropped 44 points with 10 boards in that game in a strong effort. The third and final meeting came in February with the Pelicans winning by three points once again.
The third game was similar to what we should see on Wednesday night. Brandon Ingram was on the floor and scored a game-high 34 points without Zion. The Thunder scored just 100 points, well below their season average.
However, SGA had 24 points with 10 boards and rookie Jalen Williams dropped 22 points in the loss.
In all three games, the Thunder have been right there with the Pelicans and SGA has averaged 33 PPG in the meetings against New Orleans this season.
Let’s start with the easy one: the OVER/UNDER. The line is set at 228, and it’s worth noting that two of the three meetings this year have gone below that mark.
However, the Thunder are 5th in the NBA with 117 PPG and should have everybody ready to roll for this game. The Pelicans are 15th in the league with 114 PPG, so this game has a big chance of going over, and that’s the way I’m leaning.
The Pelicans are favored by 5.5 points, and having home-court advantage is a big reason. On the other hand, the Thunder have yet to beat them this season.
SGA has scored 25 or more points in nine of the last 10 games and 30 or more in seven of the last 10, including a 40-point outing and a pair of 39-point showings. He can’t be stopped, and with the season on the line, he goes off for another 35-point outing to lead the way.
The 10 seed has yet to win a game since the institution of the Play-In Tournament, but the Thunder break that trend and head one step closer to becoming the 8th seed.
OVER 228 Total Points
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander OVER 32.5 Total Points