NBA Betting Odds, Picks and Predictions: Pelicans vs. Kings (Thursday, August 6)
Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield.
Pelicans vs. Kings Betting Odds
|Pelicans odds||-4 [BET NOW]|
|Kings odds||+4 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-171/+145 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||233 [BET NOW]|
|Time||1:30 p.m. ET|
The New Orleans Pelicans continue their push for a play-in bid in the crowded Western conference, while the Sacramento Kings are just trying to get a win on the board after dropping their first three games.
These teams met once this season, a two-point Pelicans win back in January, covering as 2.5-point underdogs. Of course, Zion Williamson is now on the floor for New Orleans, so we can scrap that matchup for the most part.
Let’s figure out how to bet this game, which has plenty of playoff implications.
New Orleans Pelicans
Before the league suspension, the Pelicans were one of the hottest teams in the league and were the trendy pick to make the postseason. However, New Orleans has not looked the part so far in Orlando.
The Pels have the third-worst offensive rating since the restart entering Wednesday’s games, and while defense has surprisingly kept them in games, they look out of sync. Zion, for one, seems lost on defense as he works himself back into shape.
The Pelicans are 30 points better on defense per 100 possessions when Williamson is off the floor through three contests. While there is no denying his physical ability, he is getting exposed as a novice defensive player at the moment.
The No. 1 pick is starting to shift into gear, though. While it wasn’t the prettiest, Williamson logged a bubble-high 25 minutes on Monday in the win over the Grizzlies. As he gets his legs back, the Pelicans are going to hope for some positive regression on their shooting.
For example, with Brandon Ingram on the floor — the Pelicans’ best offensive weapon — they are posting an offensive rating of 89.7, the worst on the team, and what would be the worst offense in the league in the bubble by nearly 11 points per 100 possessions.
That is not blaming Ingram, but the Pelicans are due for some offensive luck to change. Pre-bubble, the Pelicans were top-five in 3-point rate and points from beyond the arc. The Pels have been able to generate a high rate of 3s and hit them at an efficient rate, making better than 37% of them.
Well, in the bubble it hasn’t been much of the same. The team’s 3-point rate is bottom third in the bubble and there hit rate is down nearly 3%. Some breaks should start going New Orleans’ way, and with Zion getting better each game, that should spark some energy into what has looked like a sluggish club thus far.
The Kings have gone from a dark horse to compete for the play-in game to last place among West bubble teams.
While the numbers can be inflated due to such a small sample, the Kings have the second-worst net rating of teams in the bubble — more than 10 points worse than their opponents.
Sacramento’s defense has been the cause for its bubble demise. First, its opponents are shooting 46% from beyond the arc through three games, an aberration to say the least.
However, there are underlying issues leading to their defensive woes. The Kings are sending their opponent to the line at the sixth-highest rate among bubble teams. Factor that in with the fact they are the third-worst team in terms of getting to the line, the Kings are giving away points at the charity stripe.
The Kings’ season is probably over after the eight games. They are technically two games out of the nine seed, but there are four teams ahead of Luke Walton’s bunch.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This seems like the right time for the Pelicans to turn it around. Despite a shaky start, they are still right there for a postseason bid.
The Kings are on the ropes and may be the remedy for the Pelicans’ offensive woes. New Orleans is struggling from beyond the arc, but the good news is that the Kings have been putrid defending it. Alvin Gentry is best suited having his Pelicans get back to their roots and let it rain from deep.
Sure, the Kings are due to get some 3-point variance in their direction, but the Pelicans have plus 3-point threats who are not going yet, I’ll take the shooters in this one.
By spreading out the floor, this will also allow Zion to get some tilted defenses that he can explode through and finish at the rim.
With an opening line of -4, New Orleans is a play up to -5.5. This should be a spot for them to get on track and start to build momentum towards the postseason. With the West getting tighter, the team can not afford to overlook any opponent.
However, if this line climbs north of that, I would recommend the team total over for the Pelicans at 118.5, up to 119.5. It seems steep for a team that has not scored 110 points in the bubble. But this team is due to break out, and there is no time like the reeling Kings.
Pick: Pelicans -4 (Would play up to -5.5)