West Coast NBA Betting Preview: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers
Betting odds courtesy of Bovada
The New Orleans Pelicans are 23-37 on the season and are two games ahead of the Lakers in the bottom half of the Western Conference standings, but the Pellies have dropped its past eight contests, while the surging (minor sarcasm) Lakers have won back-to-back games. The Lakers are just 10-18 at home this season but will still be 2.5 point favorites over the Pelicans in this contest according to NBA oddsmakers at Bovada.
New Orleans is without Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday for the remainder of the season, and that is no small loss. Anderson is a great three-point marksman and was averaging close to 20 points per game prior to injury. Holiday was an All-Star in Philadelphia last season, and the Pelicans felt so strongly about his prospects that it surrendered its first round pick in 2014 to acquire Holiday. While the Pelicans may be missing its starting point guard and power forward, the development of second year forward Anthony Davis has been well worth charting.
Davis is averaging a team high 20.1 points per game and 9.9 rebounds per game, in addition to blocking 2.90 shots per contest as well. With the glut of talent on the Pelicans roster, it’s not hard to envision the team making a quantum leap (if healthy) next season. Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans may never return to their former selves, but even if Gordon isn’t posting 25 points per game and Evans going 20/5/5, the duo can be talented role players on this team. The future clearly lies in Holiday and Davis, but the Pelicans are deceptively deep.
The Lakers season was really over before it ever began, as Kobe Bryant has played just seven games this season. Contrary to last season where the expectations were sky high, though, this Lakers squad is just trying to focus on playing winning basketball. As typical with a Mike D’Antoni coached team, the defense has been almost non-existent, with the Lakers having the league’s second-worst defense. Only the 76ers surrender more points. And the offense hasn’t been overwhelmingly good to compensate; the Lakers rank 14th in scoring (101.2 points per game), with a point differential of +5.3.
The Lakers will be without Kobe, Steve Nash and Nick Young for this contest. Nash is said to be likely out for the season, and Bryant is too, of course. Young may play in this contest, but there really isn’t any reason to play on a sore knee with the team nowhere near the playoff chase. Young has developed into a hired gun, but one must be left to wonder if he can co-exist with Bryant. Young takes a lot of bad shots and though he averages 16.8 points per game, he has a below average PER (14.4), and his scoring is mostly a result of “Well, someone has to shoot it with Kobe out, right?”
Pau Gasol is having a strong season, and remained in L.A. past the trade deadline somewhat mysteriously once again. Gasol is averaging 17.2 points and 10 rebounds per game, and with the Lakers cap situation it should be interesting to see how the team goes about retaining his services (if they do).
Kent Bazemore has looked like a great acquisition, despite the lack of fuss about the move. Bazemore has averaged 15.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in his six games as a Laker, and he has been starting since his second game in Los Angeles. It could be that the Lakers future core ends up being a lot of spare parts and Bryant, and one only see clips of Bryant occupying a backcourt with Smush Parker to remember how that all worked out last time; not to mention Bryant is only older and less explosive now. For the meantime, this game couldn’t mean any less to either team.
NOP Trends: 0-5-2 ATS in last 7 following ATS loss; 0-6-1 ATS in last 7 when opponent allows 100 or more points in previous game; 0-5 ATS in last 5 following SU loss.
LAL Trends: OVER 6-0 in last 6 on 0 days rest; OVER 5-1 in last 6 when starting 5 combines for 160 minutes or more on previous day; OVER 4-1 in last 5 home games.
Head-to-head: OVER 4-1 in last 5 meetings; OVER 4-1 in last 5 in Los Angeles; Pelicans 12-4 ATS in last 16 meetings in Los Angeles.