Lakers vs Pelicans Prediction, Odds, Pick Sunday | NBA Betting Preview Today (April 14)

Lakers vs Pelicans Prediction, Odds, Pick Sunday | NBA Betting Preview Today (April 14) article feature image

Lakers vs. Pelicans Prediction

Sunday, April 14
3:30 p.m. ET
Lakers Odds
-110 / -110
Pelicans Odds
-110 / -110
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about Lakers vs. Pelicans on Sunday, April 14 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today's game.

The Lakers (46-35) wrap up the regular season on the road against the Pelicans (49-32) in a matchup loaded with postseason implications. A win would mean Los Angeles clinches the eighth seed in the Western Conference, giving it two cracks to qualify for the playoffs based on the play-in tournament.

It's worth noting that in the play-in tournament, the No. 7 and 8 seeds face one another, with the winner qualifying for the playoffs while the loser faces the winner of the No. 9 vs. 10 matchup.

There is also a scenario where the Lakers can drop to the 10th seed if they finish in a three-way tie with Sacramento (45-36) and Golden State (45-36). When a three-way tie occurs, the league determines the seeding using the head-to-head win-loss percentage among the teams involved.

If that occurs, The Kings would win the tiebreaker, with the Warriors finishing ninth and the Lakers 10th.

As for the Pelicans, a victory over the Lakers on Sunday would mean they'd secure the sixth seed, and a guaranteed spot in the playoffs. New Orleans can also drop to the seventh seed if it loses and Phoenix wins on the road in Minnesota.

Picking a side in this matchup is anything straightforward, given the inconsistency both teams have shown at times this season. While we'll undoubtedly preview the game, we'll have to turn to the player props market for my Lakers vs. Pelicans pick and prediction for Sunday.

Los Angeles Lakers

After a 15-10 start to the campaign, the Lakers went 9-15 to end January with a 24-25 record. Since then, Los Angeles has been much better, posting a 22-10 mark over the last three months.

However, the Lakers are known to have their share of clunkers now and then. Despite being 11 games over .500, Los Angeles has the lowest point differential (+0.4) of any winning team in the league.

Even the Rockets (+1.0), one game under .500, have a better point differential than the Lakers.

At times, you never know what you'll get with this Lakers team, which is 37-44 against the spread. They tend to thrive when the matchups are in their favor, but they can also struggle to play up to their potential.

Although the Lakers hold a 2-1 edge in this season's series with the Pelicans, none of the three games were decided by fewer than 17 points. So if you managed to pick the winner, they also covered the point spread.

I looked into both Lakers' wins and found that the difference was primarily because of their perimeter shooting. Los Angeles averaged 15.5 3-pointers in those games, which is quite a bump from their season average of 11.7.

To put it bluntly, the Lakers' overall body of work suggests that such a performance is more of an aberration than anything else.

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New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans is the more polished of the two teams, ranking sixth overall with a +4.8 net rating. The Pelicans predominantly lean on their defense, which ranks sixth in efficiency, allowing 111.8 points per 100 possessions.

Their strength is really on the interior, as TeamRankings has them fourth in opponent points in the paint, with 46.3 allowed per game.

However, New Orleans can struggle on the perimeter, as it's 24th in opponent 3-point field goals allowed (13.6).

Thus, perhaps the Lakers spotted this weakness in the Pelicans' scouting report and successfully took advantage of it in two of the three meetings this season.

That tactic might not work this time because although the Pelicans rank 19th in 3-pointers, they've been red hot over their last four games, averaging 17.3 3-point field goals.

The problem is that those games were on the road, where the Pelicans have a 28-14 record vs. 21-18 at home. It's quite remarkable that the Pelicans have an even better away record than the Celtics, who are widely considered the best team in the league.

As a result, the Pelicans are far from a slam dunk in this matchup, even with the game being played on their home court.

Lakers vs. Pelicans

Betting Pick & Prediction

Based on my findings regarding these two teams, I struggled to settle on either side in this matchup. Motivation shouldn't be a problem for either team. While I'd lean toward the Lakers for their experience, my overall metrics suggest the Pelicans should be closer to a five-point favorite.

However, the Pelicans' struggles at home certainly give me reason to pause.

As a result, I prefer to focus my efforts on a player prop that I feel has a higher probability of cashing.

Neither team should have a significant edge in rebounding. The Lakers average 51.5 rebounds compared to 51.4 for the Pelicans. Lakers forward LeBron James is coming off a nine-rebound performance against the Grizzlies in a 123-120 victory.

He's averaging 6.4 rebounds through five games in April. We've seen James play a more significant role this season as a facilitator for the Lakers, averaging 8.2 assists—his highest mark over the last four seasons.

At 39 years of age, James has to pick his spots where he can best impact the team. With Anthony Davis back with the team after an eye injury, James will probably not be required as much on the interior.

In the three meetings against the Pelicans, James is averaging just  4.6 rebounds. When you combine that with the opportunity to fade him off a big rebounding performance, there's some value in playing his rebounding prop under 7.5 at -130 on FanDuel.

Pick: LeBron James Under 7.5 Rebounds (-130)

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Doug Ziefel
May 22, 2024 UTC