It’s a Thursday night match between the (32-22) Oklahoma City Thunder and the (23-31) New Orleans Pelicans. Chris Paul and the Thunder will try to stop a two-game skid when they take on Zion Williamson and the Pelicans.
Oklahoma City hasn’t lost their last two games by much, losing to the Boston Celtics 111-112, followed by losing 106-114 to the San Antonio Spurs. With the margins of these losses being so close, the Thunder will look to finish strong and seal a win against the Pelicans on the road.
New Orleans has won three-straight games and is looking like one of the most electrifying teams in the league. With stars like Brandon Ingram, Jrue Holiday and Zion Williamson, it’s not hard to understand why this team is so fun to watch.
It’s a small spread in this one, considering that their last match was a close 107-104 game that went in favor of the Thunder, the spread isn’t surprising. The Pelicans come into this game as 2-point favorites, can Oklahoma pick up a much needed win on the road or will the Pelicans add a fourth game to their win streak? Most importantly, who should you bet on?
Thunder looking to right the ship
It goes without saying that right now isn’t a good time for the Thunder to go on a losing streak. Barely holding onto their sixth-seed position in the Western Conference and the Dallas Mavericks hot on their trail, the Thunder better get back to winning before it’s too late. Oklahoma City has done well though, even the games they lost were only by the small margins and they were tied with the Celtics leading into the fourth-quarter. The problem for the Thunder has been finishing and finishing against the Pelicans is no easy task.
The Thunder aren’t a team with a lot of flashes, their leading scorer only averages 19.5PPG. What they do well is defense, allowing the only 107.9PPG, ranking 10th in the league. The key to stopping the Pelicans isn’t Brandon Ingram anymore though, it’s stopping Zion Williamson. Danilo Gallinari will likely be tasked with this project and is the man for the job. He plays well against the Pelicans and his 6’10 frame versus Zion’s 6’6 is a beneficial match for him.
Oklahoma City has a great record against the spread and has been outstanding recently on the road. With an overall record of 32-22 ATS and 12-0 ATS in their last twelve games on the road, the Thunder have given bettors a reason to trust them.
Pelicans flying high with 3-straight wins
New Orleans is looking great, Ingram, Holiday and Williamson have built the chemistry and are looking like a team that can make a serious playoff run. This week they’ll face a familiar Western Conference foe when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night. Zion recorded a career night against Portland putting up 31-points and 9-rebounds in their 138-117 win.
Needless to say, the Pelicans are on fire right now and the only way to slow them down is stopping Zion’s workload. The good news for the Pelicans is they’re familiar with Zion not being the center of attention and that’s where Jrue Holiday and Brandon Ingram come in. Both these players rise to the occasion when the pressure is on and were able to put together three straight wins.
The last time these two teams faced off was before Zion was back in the lineup and the Pelicans were still favored by 2.5. New Orleans has gone 13-5-1 ATS in their last nineteen games with a record of 28-24-2 ATS overall. The only thing that makes me worry about the Pelicans covering is their 15-12 record ATS at home.
Pick and Prediction: Pelicans -2
Oklahoma City being the visiting team in this one is what deters me from picking them. Smoothie King Center is going to be packed full of Pelicans fans that are ready to see a Zion Williamson performance like the one he put up against the Raptors. Even though plenty of the Thunder defense will be focused on taking Zion out of the game, they’ll still have to deal with Jrue Holiday and Brandon Ingram. The home team will walk away with this one, defeating the Thunder and increasing their streak to four-straight, Pelicans -2.