New Orleans Pelicans (29-28) at Oklahoma City Thunder (27-28)
Game Info: Monday, February 13, 2023 at 8:00 p.m. EST (Paycom Center)
Betting Odds: Thunder (-2.5) / Over/Under (237)
Pick: Thunder (-2.5)
As the NBA season heads into another week, we will take a dive into a Western Conference clash between two teams that are fighting for their playoff lives, when the New Orleans Pelicans fly into Oklahoma City to play the Thunder.
After going on an unexpected 10 game losing streak, the Pelicans were able to right the ship a bit in the past week, winning 3 of their last 4 games (3-1 ATS in that stretch). They are sitting in the 7th spot in the West right now, but if they can go on a run of consecutive good performances like they have done earlier in the season, they good fly up the standings in the coming weeks. Although Zion Williamson is out again, they are starting to get their star players back, which should bode well for their chances in securing a Playoff spot by the end of the season. Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum have been two of those key pieces on an off the court, but when they have been on the court together, they have been one of the best duos in the league. Down the stretch, they will surely need both of them clicking on all cylinders.
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Oklahoma City is one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the league this year. They rank 12th and 13th in offensive and defensive efficiency respectively, and seem to play down-to-the-wire games almost every single night. Budding superstar, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has maybe the smoothest game style in the NBA. He can score from all 3 phases of the game, and has managed to put up a stat line of 31.0 PTS, 4.6 REB, and 5.7 AST, in one of the most efficient seasons in Oklahoma City history. He has put the team on his back all season and should be be right in the MVP candidate conversation if he keeps this play up. Currently, they hold the last play-in spot in the West, but are only 5 games back from the 3 seed, so there is plenty of basketball to play for them to control their own destiny. With the best player on the floor in this one, will they be able to protect their home court in a critical game with massive playoff implications?
A few betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- Oklahoma City is 8-3 ATS as a home favorite
- The Thunder are 15-7-1 ATS when playing on equal rest as the opposing team
- New Orleans is 5-11-1 ATS as an away underdog
- Oklahoma City is the best team ATS this year, with a 34-20-1 record
This line suggests this game will go down to the wire, and I completely agree with that implication. In saying this though, down the stretch, at home, SGA has been one of the best closers in the league. After being on the road for a short 3 game stretch, OKC will be home for the first time in 9 days and will continue their winning streak on Monday night. Give me the Thunder to win by a few buckets to get back to the .500 mark.
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