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Pelicans vs. 76ers Odds, Pick, Prediction: Target the Total in Rematch (January 2)

Pelicans vs. 76ers Odds, Pick, Prediction: Target the Total in Rematch (January 2) article feature image
Credit:

Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans.

  • The Philadelphia 76ers (-4) host the New Orleans Pelicans in their first game back after a road trip.
  • Philadelphia lost to New Orleans last week and will be hoping to reverse fortunes this time around.
  • Austin Wang previews the game and shares his best bet below.

Pelicans vs. 76ers Odds

Pelicans Odds +4
76ers Odds -4
Over/Under 227.5
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

On Monday evening, the Philadelphia 76ers return home from a four-game road trip through the new year to host the New Orleans Pelicans for their first game in 2023. This is rematch from last Friday where the Pelicans beat the Sixers 127-116 behind a stellar performance from C.J. McCollum with a career-high 11 3-pointers.

In that game, the Sixers closed as 1.5-point favorites on the road and the total closed at 229.5. For this rematch, as of Sunday evening, the Sixers are 5.5-point favorites at home and the total opened at 230.5.

Can we expect a repeat performance from the Pelicans? Or will the Sixers get their revenge back in Philadelphia, where they have been excellent all season. Let’s break down this exciting cross-conference matchup between two of the league’s top teams.

New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans have been one this season’s most surprising teams. After the mid-season acquisition of C.J. McCollum, they gained momentum and put forth an impressive, scrappy performance against the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs. This season, add in a healthy Zion Williamson into the mix and they are tied for second seed in the Western Conference with a 23-13 record.

The Pelicans have the eighth-highest ranked Offensive Rating in the league, per NBA Advanced Stats. This includes being top-10 in many key offensive metrics: third in Free Throw Rate (29.5%), eighth in Offensive Rebounding Percentage (30.5%), third in points off turnovers (19.6), and fourth in points in the paint (55.3).

The Pelicans have gone over their total in nine of their previous 12 games. They are 11-5 to the over on the road, and they are 10-3 as underdogs, per the Sports Data Query Language at Killer Sports. In addition, they are 13-4 the over against teams with a Defensive Rating better than the league average and 11-5 to the over versus above average teams (defined as teams with a win percentage of 55% or greater).

Their injury report includes Brandon Ingram and Larry Nance Jr. Ingram’s absence was expected, but not having Nance will hurt their defense. The On/Off numbers show that the Pelicans’ Defensive Rating worsens by 3.2 points per 100 possessions with him off the court, per Basketball Reference.


Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers injury report looks clean for Monday evening. They should welcome James Harden and Tyrese Maxey back to the lineup after both of them got a rest day on their New Year’s Eve game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. They fared just fine without them, as they rolled to a wire-to-wire domination of the Thunder that included a triple-double from Joel Embiid.

The Sixers are one of the league’s best teams against the spread at home. They are 14-5 ATS (73.7%), and they’ve won nine in a row at home. They have covered in 13 of their last 14 games in the Wells Fargo Center. In comparison, they are below .500 on the road with a 7-9 SU and ATS record.

Overall, they are ranked second in Defensive Rating (109.1), per NBA Advanced Stats. With offseason acquisitions of P.J. Tucker and De’Anthony Melton, they’ve added two elite defenders to support Embiid in shutting down their opponents.

Also, with the Harden returning from an injury in early December, they are performing at the level we expected before the season. In their previous 10 games, they are ranked second in Net Rating (9.0), trailing only the Brooklyn Nets.

It is no surprise they are eighth in the league with a Free Throw Rate of 28.4%. Both Harden and Embiid are experts at drawing fouls. An efficient offense in addition to many trips to the line has led them to go over the total in nine of their previous 13 games. They combined for 58 free throws in their previous matchup. Embiid had 37 points in that game and expect him to dominate once again as Jonas Valanciunas has really struggled as of late.

Pelicans-76ers Pick

My numbers say the Pelicans are the right side, but I’m not interested in fading the Sixers at home. Instead, I am looking towards the total.

Overs have been hitting at an extremely high rate lately. Since Dec. 19, 2022, the league has seen its games go 56-40-2 (58.3%) to the over, per the SDQL. Offense and scoring have skyrocketed in the last two weeks. Average market totals have adjusted and increased, so we could see an unders correction coming soon.

However, I am going to continue riding the overs wave for this matchup. One angle I like to look at is for teams that have a rematch within a week. I like both of these offenses to shine again. With Harden’s return, his ability to draw fouls helps the offense and he generally has a lackadaisical attitude on defense.

I expect Embiid and Williamson to continue their excellence with their high-percentage shots in the paint, a nice recipe for an over. I make this total 233, so I would play the over at 228.5 (up to 232).

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