NBA Betting Odds, Picks and Predictions: Pelicans vs. Clippers (Saturday, Aug. 1)
Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans, Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers.
- The Los Angeles Clippers are a 4.5-point favorite over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday (6 p.m. ET), with the total at a lofty 232.5.
- The Pels will limit Zion Williamson's minutes again, while the Clips are still without several key role players.
- Joe Dellera likes the Clippers in a bounce back spot after a narrow loss to the Lakers on Thursday night.
Pelicans vs. Clippers Betting Odds
|Pelicans odds||+4.5 [BET NOW]|
|Clippers odds||-4.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+170/-200 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||226 [BET NOW]|
|Time||6 p.m. ET|
The Pelicans and the Clippers each lost by a mere two points on Friday’s opening night in the bubble, so which team is most likely to right the ship on Saturday night?
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans put forward a strong effort against the Jazz but faded in the second half. Without rookie sensation Zion Williamson on the court, the Jazz controlled the paint and scored several easy buckets.
The Pels need improvement from Lonzo Ball, who had some shining moments in the opener but whose poor shooting limited him from spreading the floor.
Over their past 15 games, the Pelicans have the eighth-best Defensive Rating in the league, which they’ll need to harness in order to contain Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
I don’t have faith that they can contain the two marquee scorers. The Clippers score the highest percentage of their points from the free throw line in the NBA (17.9%), which could be a problem for a Pelicans team that ranks 20th in opponent free throw rate, per Cleaning the Glass.
Along with the public, I was extremely frustrated with the lack of minutes for Williamson against the Jazz. He was expected to play “in short bursts” but wasn’t checked into a two-point game with 30 seconds remaining. Perhaps he was on a hard minutes limit, but his absence in such a crucial situation was notable.
It was even more confusing considering every game is essentially a must-win game for the Pelicans as they fight to force a play-in scenario for the No. 8 seed in the West. The Pelicans’ handling of Zion is extremely unpredictable at this point, which makes it difficult to bet on them until we see some consistency. Our Labs Insider tool (and general manager David Griffin) has confirmed that Zion will remain limited in this game.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers will once again be without Lou Williams (quarantine) and Montrezl Harrell (personal) against the Pelicans. However, it seems like Doc Rivers is going to let Kawhi Leonard and Paul George get some run in these bubble games, as they each played 33-plus minutes against the Lakers.
The key to the Clippers’ success will be whether or not Marcus Morris and Ivica Zubac can improve on the two points they combined to score on Thursday. Considering they average 19.6 and 7.9 points, respectively, I anticipate they will be able to right the ship.
The Clippers are an elite team in the West and are legitimate title contenders. They’ve demonstrated this pedigree and resilience throughout the season. After a loss, the Clippers are an incredible 17-3 straight up and 15-5-0 against the spread, according to Bet Labs.
Although the Clippers are likely not concerned with their first-round opponent, they likely want to avoid the Lakers in the second round. They should be motivated to lock in the second or third seed in the West and hold off the Nuggets and Jazz.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Don’t overthink this game. The Clippers are title contenders who excel against the spread after a loss. I don’t trust the Pelicans and how they will manage Zion’s minutes, but if he’s on a hard cap and sits down the stretch, this is going to be the PG and Kawhi show.
The PICK: Clippers -4.5, I like this up to -6.