Pelicans vs Lakers Prediction, Picks Tonight

Pelicans vs Lakers Prediction, Picks Tonight article feature image

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans drives against Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at the Smoothie King Center. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Pelicans vs. Lakers Prediction, Picks Tonight

Friday, Feb. 9
10:30 p.m.
Pelicans -2.5 (-110)

Here's everything you need to know about Pelicans vs. Lakers on Friday, Feb. 9 — our expert prediction and betting picks for tonight.

It seemed like the Lakers were closing in on a momentous home victory over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, but just as quickly as the game became within reach, it slipped away from Los Angeles.

Now, this team will have to deal with a streaking Pelicans team that is playing some excellent defense at the moment. With tired legs, can the Lakers pull this one out?

Let's get to our Pelicans vs. Lakers prediction and picks.

Pelicans vs. Lakers Prediction

Pick: Pelicans -2.5 (-110)

Pelicans Betting Outlook

Let's take a moment to appreciate the ball the Pelicans are playing right now. They've won four in a row, and while you can poke holes in each of those victories, the fact remains that this team has looked much improved over the last couple of weeks.

While their defensive production has remained steady, the Pelicans have brought their offensive rating up into the top 10 of the NBA over the last 10 games. They remain a top-10 3-point offense over the last month of play and have ranked inside the top 13 of the league both at the rim and from the mid-range.

While everything's going swimmingly on the surface, the Pelicans have a couple injuries here that could throw a wrench into the proceedings. Jonas Valančiūnas suffered a right calf contusion in Wednesday's win over the Clippers, an injury which wound up keeping him out for the second half. He's questionable on Friday, as is Zion Williamson, who is nursing a bone bruise in his foot.

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Lakers Betting Outlook

The injury report for the Lakers is a big mystery. Coming off a back-to-back, it's not any clearer what is going on with D'Angelo Russell. The team said he was having a "procedure" then seemed to clear up that it was not, indeed, surgery — and merely some sort of minor treatment. Russell was then listed as questionable against Denver, but didn't wind up playing.

It's a guessing game, really, but if Russell is missing it'll certainly be a big blow to the backcourt given Max Christie was injured Thursday and may miss this game as well. Add those names to an injury list already including Cam Reddish, Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent and the outlook for L.A. looks muddy.

The thing that is really going to sting here for the Lakers is the fact that they can't stop the 3-point shot. They've fallen all the way to 20th when it comes to opponent 3-point percentage, and over the last month of play we've seen this rim defense crater to 30th in the NBA, according to Cleaning the Glass.

Nothing has gone right for the Lakers, but somehow they've started to shoot the 3 a lot better, which together with an already-elite interior scoring attack has actually made this team a rather tough one to beat.

Pelicans vs. Lakers Picks, Odds

Friday, Feb 9
10:30pm ET
Pelicans Odds
-105o / -115u
Lakers Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

On the second night of a back-to-back, particularly after a physically taxing affair against the Nuggets, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Lakers rest LeBron James or Anthony Davis, as they've done on a few occasions this season. It also would be rather surprising to me to see Russell suit up for this game, which should really put L.A. in a tough spot against a team that is starting to play some excellent basketball.

The Pelicans' ability to hit the 3 should work wonders here against a Lakers team that has been torched from outside all season long, and their 3-point defense should be enough in the event their rim defense is compromised by injury.

All signs point to New Orleans on the road.

Pick: Pelicans -2.5 (-110)

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