Connect with us


Pelicans vs. Thunder Game 2 odds, prediction: NBA playoffs picks, best bets



A messy fourth quarter almost resulted in the Oklahoma City Thunder dropping Game 1 in front of their home fans.

However, a few late-game mistakes by the Pelicans and a massive shot from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the final minute helped OKC sneak by New Orleans and grab Game 1 in their best-of-seven first-round NBA playoff series.

Still, Thunder fans have to be concerned heading into Game 2 on Wednesday, including a defensive strategy by the Pelicans in Game 1 that forced OKC off the arc and properly contested the 3s they did take.

Additionally, Zion Williamson (hamstring) has indicated that a return at some point in the playoffs is realistic, so the Thunder must take care of business before he heals. 

Will the Thunder roll in Game 2, or will New Orleans continue to make this a competitive series? Let’s break down the game and make a pick.

Pelicans vs. Thunder odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Pelicans +7.5 (-110) +245 o211.5 (-112)
Thunder -7.5 (-110) -300 u211.5 (-108)
Odds via FanDuel

Pelicans vs. Thunder prediction

(9:30 p.m. ET, TNT)

In Game 1, New Orleans successfully limited the Thunder’s greatest offensive strength (3-point shooting), holding OKC to just 31.3% shooting from deep on 32 attempts.

New Orleans also outrebounded the Thunder by eight, courtesy of a Jonas Valanciunas masterclass. Valanciunas finished with 20 boards in just 29 minutes of play.

The most obvious concern for the Thunder is that the Pelicans — a team that held opponents to the second-lowest three-point percentage this season — ran them off the 3-point line extraordinarily well.

Furthermore, OKC could not play Valanciunas off the floor, meaning the Pels will continue to have an advantage in the paint offensively and on the glass.

Unless rookie Chet Holmgren can stretch Valanciunas out to the 3-point line and consistently beat him off the dribble, New Orleans 265-pound center who outweighs Holmgren by 60 pounds could see more minutes and continue to control the paint.

Herb Jones hassled Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in Game 1, keeping the MVP candidate at bay. Getty Images

Another concern is that Gilgeous-Alexander struggled against Herb Jones, one of the league’s premier perimeter wing defenders. SGA will always get his points, but Jones made him relatively inefficient. 

If Jones continues to disrupt SGA’s flow offensively, it will be difficult for him to apply rim pressure or get a foot in the paint to help draw in other opponents, resulting in clean kick-out 3-pointers.

On the other end, it seems highly unlikely for the Pelicans to shoot a putrid 38.5% from the floor and 28.3% from behind the arc for a second consecutive game.

While Williams’ absence presents problems for the Pels offensively, they have enough weapons to improve their efficiency from Game 1.

Betting on the NBA?

Pelicans vs. Thunder pick

New Orleans is a fantastic road team, boasting a 28-15 record away from Smoothie King Center.

We saw that grit and toughness on full display in Game 1, and going forward, the Pels can make this an exciting series.

If you want to play it safe, take them and the 7.5 points, but I think they have a good chance to steal a win behind improved offensive play.

Pick:  New Orleans Pelicans  (+270, DraftKings)

Continue Reading