Thunder-Pelicans Odds: New Orleans the Least Popular NBA Bet Since 2008

Thunder-Pelicans Odds: New Orleans the Least Popular NBA Bet Since 2008 article feature image
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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Julius Randle, Frank Jackson and Anthony Davis

  • The Pelicans are getting just 11% of spread bets for Thursday's game (8 p.m. ET, TNT) against Oklahoma City.
  • That puts New Orleans on pace to be the least popular bet in an NBA game since 2008.

If you looked at tonight’s three-game NBA slate and thought, “Well, Oklahoma City is a lock,” you aren’t alone. In fact, you’re a part of a pretty big majority of bettors.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Thunder are attracting 89% of bets in tonight’s meeting with the Pelicans (8 p.m. ET, TNT). That puts New Orleans on pace to be the least popular team in an NBA game since 2008, per Bet Labs.

Amidst their whole Anthony Davis fiasco, the Pels have lost eight of 11, and enter tonight’s matchup on a two-game skid. The Thunder, on the other hand, have won 11 of 12, and enter tonight as winners of four straight.

Despite all that, OKC is just a 4.5-point favorite tonight, so that 89% backing shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

Is it likely that we’ll see that percentage stay put until tip? Probably not. In general, percentages tend to move toward 50% closer to game time. Still, the Pelicans will join a small group of teams in our database assuming their support remains less than 15%.

Only 43 games since 2005 have featured a team getting less than that mark, and dropping it to 14% returns only 19 games.

Interestingly, while contrarian bets (less than 30%) have produced more winners than losers over the years — 1868-1788-63 against the spread (ATS) since ’05 — these really contrarian spots haven’t been so hot.

The 43 teams to close with less than 15% of bets are just 17-26 ATS over the same span, and the five teams with 11% or less, like tonight’s Pelicans, have gone just 1-4 ATS.

Of course, both of those samples are pretty small, so it’s certainly possible that they’ll improve over time.

Will OKC hang on to its historic backing, or will more bettors start making their way to the sorry Pelicans as tip off approaches? Follow along as we’ll have updated betting percentages in The Action Network App.