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Nets vs. Pelicans Odds, Prediction & Pick: Betting Value on Brooklyn Despite Key Absences (April 20)

Nets vs. Pelicans Odds, Prediction & Pick: Betting Value on Brooklyn Despite Key Absences (April 20) article feature image

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kyrie Irving.

  • Without Kevin Durant and James Harden, the Nets are set to take on the Pelicans on Tuesday night.
  • A lot will be on Kyrie Irving's plate against Zion Williamson & Co., but the Pelicans have underwhelmed this season.
  • Roberto Arguello breaks down how he's backing Brooklyn against New Orleans.

Nets vs. Pelicans Odds

Nets Odds +3
Pelicans Odds -3
Moneyline +126 / -148
Over/Under 235
Time Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Tuesday evening and via FanDuel.

The Pelicans host the Nets on Tuesday night in the second and final meeting between these teams this season. The Nets won the first matchup in a blowout 139-111 on April 7 in Brooklyn.

Unfortunately, two of the Nets’ three leading scorers in that game won’t play on Tuesday with Kevin Durant out with a thigh injury and LaMarcus Aldridge retired.

The Nets are coming off of a 109-107 loss to the Heat at the buzzer on Sunday, while the Pelicans have lost three straight after losing consecutive games in overtime to the Wizards and Knicks on Friday and Sunday.

Brooklyn Nets

If the Nets cover as short road underdogs, they will need Kyrie Irving to play at a high level and shooters Joe Harris and Landry Shamet to step up with two-thirds of their big three out. Durant (thigh), Nicolas Claxton (health and safety protocols) and Reggie Perry (health and safety protocols) all are out Tuesday, while James Harden (hamstring), Tyler Johnson (knee) and Chris Chiozza (hand) also remain out indefinitely.

The Nets will need Irving to bounce back after an off-night against the Heat on Sunday. Irving’s 31.6% field goal percentage (6-of-19 shooting) against the Heat was his second lowest of the season. He missed all eight of his shots when guarded by underrated Defensive Player of the Year Award candidate Bam Adebayo.

Luckily for Nets fans, the Pelicans won’t have anyone near Adebayo’s class defensively, and Irving should thrive against a Pelicans defense that has struggled to contain dribble penetration.

The Nets will need to win the battle from beyond the arc to win without Durant and Harden. Per Cleaning The Glass, the Nets rank second in the league on 40.0% 3-point shooting this season. The Pelicans, meanwhile, rank second last in defensive 3-point percentage allowed with opponents are making 39.3% against them. The Nets’ 3-point defense is average, but the Pelicans’ 3-point shooting is one of the worst in the league at 35.1% shooting.

Harris has led the Nets from beyond the arc. His 48.2% accuracy from beyond the arc ranks in the 98th percentile among wings while doing so on high volume. Shamet has increased his 3-point shooting percentage every month this season, and he has made 51.9% of his 3s in April on 7.7 attempts per game. Shamet has scored at least 17 points in four consecutive games and is coming off of a career-high 30-point game on Sunday.

The Nets will also need other role players to play well to pull the upset. DeAndre Jordan and Claxton put pressure on the rim and can give the Nets easy buckets when the defense overcommits to stop Irving and their shooters. Jeff Green, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Bruce Brown, Claxton and Shamet give the Nets defensive versatility, and they will need to step up to help defend Zion Williamson by drawing charges and cutting off driving lanes.

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New Orleans Pelicans

If the Pelicans win and cover, they need Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball at their best. James Johnson (adductor) is doubtful to play, while Nickeil Alexander-Walker (ankle) and Josh Hart (thumb) remain out indefinitely.

Per Cleaning The Glass, both Williamson and Ingram have usage rates in at least the 95th percentile (among their respective position groups) while also scoring in at least the 73rd percentile in points per shot attempt and having an assist rate in the 90th percentile or higher.

Williamson has been nearly unstoppable once he gets the ball in isolation situations with his freakish size and speed combination. As Williamson continues to improve his handle, it makes him even more dangerous as a scorer and distributor. Ingram remains a dangerous scorer, shooting in the 65th percentile or better at the rim, in the midrange and from beyond the arc.

The Pelicans’ offense ranks ninth in the league with an offensive rating of 115.0 (excluding garbage time, per Cleaning The Glass) this season, but they have struggled lately. Their 106.8 mark over their last eight games ranks second last in the NBA over the last two weeks.

The Pelicans haven’t been able to make teams pay when defenses over-commit to Williamson and Ingram as they have made just 25.4% of their 3-pointers (34-of-126) over their last five games. The Pelicans will need Ball, their only reliable 3-point shooter aside from Ingram, to step up and take advantage of quality looks, especially with Alexander-Walker and Hart out.

Bigs like Steven Adams and Jaxson Hayes will need to take advantage of the Nets’ undersized frontcourt on the glass when Jordan isn’t on the court. New Orleans ranks second in both offensive and defensive rebounding rates. The Nets will fight an uphill battle on the boards at 21st and 22nd in offensive- and defensive-rebounding rates.

Nets-Pelicans Pick

While the Nets are shorthanded without Durant and Harden, Irving and their hot shooters should lead them to a road win over Williamson and the Pelicans’ slumping shooters. Irving will pose a huge problem for the Pelicans’ defense that has struggled at the point of attack, and the Pelicans will have to pick their poison to either let Irving score or force him to kick out to open shooters like Shamet and Harris.

I like the value on the Nets to both cover as short underdogs at +2 and win outright at +118. I will be betting the Nets to win outright, but there is value betting them on the spread down to -2.

Pick: Nets Moneyline +118 (bet on the spread down to -2)

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