Pelicans vs. Nets NBA Odds & Picks: Expect Plenty of Scoring with Return of Kevin Durant (Wednesday, April 7)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets.
- The Brooklyn Nets are finally expected to welcome Kevin Durant to their starting lineup after missing significant time with an injury.
- Unfortunately it still won't be the Big Three for Brooklyn, as James Harden has been ruled out.
- Joe Dellera explains why he's still expecting a lot of point between both teams tonight.
Pelicans vs. Nets Odds
|Moneyline||+410 / -560|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday and via PointsBet|
The New Orleans Pelicans play their second game in as many days as they head to Brooklyn to take on the Nets who have been nearly unbeatable (21-4) in their past 25 games. The Pelicans will have their work cut out for them coming off a loss and playing one of the best teams in the league on a back-to-back — they are just 3-6 straight up this season with no rest.
Both of these teams are dealing with some injuries, so let’s examine how that will impact tonight’s matchup.
New Orleans Pelicans
Last night, the Pelicans missed a few players and may be without them once again. Brandon Ingram, Jaxson Hayes and Kira Lewis Jr. are questionable while Josh Hart and Nickeil Alexander-Walker are both out. While Zion Williamson was upgraded last night and played after missing the past three games, it remains to be seen if they will limit him in the second game of this back to back set. That being said, he resumed being an absolute monster in the paint with 34 points against the Hawks.
While Zion is the true Alpha on this team, Brandon Ingram’s impact on the offensive side of the ball is critical for this team’s success. When he’s on the floor, the Pelicans are +8.8 points per 100 possessions on offense and he helps to stretch the floor with his shooting ability.
These were shots the Pelicans could not secure against Atlanta last night, and although Lonzo has greatly improved his perimeter shooting, having him hoist 14 3’s is not a recipe for success.
The Pelicans already have an abysmal defense, but when they play top-10 offensive teams (the Nets are one of those) they also give up 121.0 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass. A major contributing factor here is they allow their opponents to shoot a high volume of 3s and their opponents shoot 40.7% on those opportunities.
Right when the Nets were expecting to be whole, James Harden went down with a hamstring injury that will sideline him for at least the next week. The Nets have also ruled out Tyler Johnson (knee) and Landry Shamet (ankle) for this game; however, Kevin Durant is listed as probable and expected to return to the lineup although there may be a minutes limit set for him tonight.
The Nets are significantly better with Durant on the floor. While this may seem obvious, his +9.8 point differential is best on the team for a player with more than 150 minutes played and he improves both the offense and the defense. He’s been an excellent facilitator this season and is averaging 5.3 assists per game, adding over a full assist per game compared to his career average.
Even without Harden, when Durant is on the floor, the Nets score 121.9 points per 100 and have an eFG% of 59.9%, which both fall in the 97th percentile of all lineups, per Cleaning the Glass.
Besides his offensive contributions, adding Durant’s defense is important. The Nets give up 3.1 fewer points per 100 on defense with Durant on the floor. He is able to switch and disrupt effectively due to his length and quickness. Given the Nets’ defensive struggles, this is a critical addition to their rotations.
If Durant and Brandon Ingram both play, this provides a significant boost to both of these teams’ offenses. In the event that they do, these teams both post excellent Offensive Efficiency stats and are top-10 in the league in that metric. Considering neither team plays defense this is an opportunity to bet on offense.
The Pelicans are 32-16-1 to the over this season and the Nets are 30-21 despite being 3-7 over their last 10 games.
However, with the absence of Harden, we can expect an uptick in pace. When he is off the Court, the Nets play 2.0 possessions per game faster, per NBA Advanced Stats. Although he’s an offensive machine, with the addition of Durant this offense will still be dominant.
Be sure to check the injury report before this game, but if Ingram and Durant play, I’m making a bet on the total.
A bonus bet in case Ingram does not play: expect Zion to feast and build off his recent surge in usage. His points prop has settled around 28 and his assists at about 4.5. If Ingram does not play, I’d take over 32.5 points + assists where it’s available.
Pick: Over 231 if Ingram and Durant play or Zion over 32.5 Points + Assists (up to 33.5) if Ingram sits
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