Tuesday NBA Expert Picks, Predictions, Odds | Our Staff’s Best Bets For Nuggets vs Pelicans

Tuesday NBA Expert Picks, Predictions, Odds | Our Staff’s Best Bets For Nuggets vs Pelicans article feature image
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Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets, Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the New Orleans Pelicans.

  • Tuesday's NBA slate is light on games and our betting analysts are aligned on one game: Pelicans vs. Nuggets.
  • They are making plays on the spread, the total and a player prop in tonight's TNT matchup.
  • Read on for their expert picks and predictions for Tuesday.

Tuesday night's NBA schedule features a five-game NBA slate, including a national TV doubleheader on TNT.

The first of those two games — Lakers vs. Knicks, 7:30 p.m. ET — will mark LeBron James' first game in Madison Square Garden (assuming he plays tonight) in three years as he continues his chase of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's for the NBA's all-time scoring record. The second game — Pelicans vs. Nuggets 10 p.m. ET — is Nikola Jokic's first game back home after losing back-to-back games on the road to two Eastern Conference contenders.

Our betting analysts are all over the late game with a pick on the spread, the total and a player prop bet. You can find their best bets for Pelicans vs. Nuggets below.

NBA Odds & Picks

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Pelicans vs. Nuggets Spread
Pelicans vs. Nuggets Total
Pelicans vs. Nuggets Player Prop

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Denver Nuggets

Pick
Nuggets -6.5
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
10 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Matt Moore: There's a lot of betting analysis is focused on when to fade streaks. If a team has been playing badly, it's a buy low spot. But you need to see the team actually stabilize toward a better "correct" number before that happens.

That is not the case with the Pelicans without Zion Williamson. The Pels have lost eight in a row and 13 of the last 16, and failed to cover in 12 of the last 16.

Don't try and catch a falling knife.

Denver at home has been dynamite this season and Denver is 3-2 ATS in late start games since they turned their season around after the December 6 loss to the Mavericks at home.

Plus, Denver is coming off a two-game losing streak. The Nuggets are 53% ATS off a loss with Nikola Jokic in the lineup and 8-5 ATS off a losing streak.

I'll lay the points with the Nuggets; things don't get better for the Pelicans. Not yet.


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New Orleans Pelicans vs. Denver Nuggets

Pick
Under 232
Book
PointsBet

Andrew O'Connor-Watts: These teams have faced each other twice already this season and both games went under the total. In their most recent meeting, neither team cracked 100 points.

I don’t expect this game to be quite that low-scoring, but I think the current total is too high. The Pelicans offense has been stagnant lately. In their last five games, they have an Offensive Rating of 103.2, according to NBA Advanced Stats — last in the league.

On the other side, the Nuggets have shown improved defensive capabilities over the last month. At the beginning of January, the Nuggets ranked 25th in Adjusted Defensive Rating (115.2), according to Dunks and Threes — a stat that factors in the opponent’s Offensive Rating in its calculation. Denver currently sits at 17th (114.1). Meanwhile, the Pelicans have been a consistently great defensive team all season at sixth (112.2).

One cause for concern could be Denver’s historic offense. The Nuggets have an Adjusted Offensive Rating of 117.4 — tied with the Celtics for second in the league — and trails only the Kings this season and the 2020-21 Nets as the best offense in the history of the league.

But in a historic offensive year, that is already factored into the current number and Denver plays at a slow enough pace that I’m not concerned. They rank just 21st in Pace (98.6) and 22nd in Offensive Possession Length (14.8). The under has already taken some steam, so shop around for the best number down to 230.5.


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New Orleans Pelicans vs. Denver Nuggets

Pick
CJ McCollum Over 22.5 points
Book
FanDuel

Kenny Ducey: Ever since Zion Williamson was injured at the start of the month, it’s been the CJ McCollum show in New Orleans. In 12 games without the star big, he’s averaged 24.8 points per game and gone cashed this over on eight of 12 occasions, including the last two games.

With Williamson off the floor this season, McCollum has seen a Usage Rate bump of 3.3% and has scored 2.7 more points per 36 minutes. Now, he gets to face a defense that is allowing 26.6 points per game to opposing point guards, which is the second-worst mark in the league.

McCollum went 0-for-8 from three against the Nuggets last week and turned the ball over six times, yet still missed this total by three. He should fare better this time around given what we’ve laid out above, and it’s also worth noting that Jamal Murray made a surprise appearance on the injury report and could miss this one. That’d make me all the more confident in McCollum scoring 23 or more.


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