Lakers vs Pelicans – NBA Pick for March 22nd

All odds that are referenced in this article were taken from 5Dimes at 9:28 am CT on 3/22/2018. These odds may have changed since the time of this writing.

The Cleveland Cavaliers got me a nice win on Wednesday, as they held serve at home against the Toronto Raptors despite giving up 79 points at the break. That marked the first time a team won a game after having done that, so I will certainly take that win and run with it.

Still, going into last night, the Cavs offered solid value (-110) as a straight-up home favorite.

I banked on them being up to play, plus Toronto being bogged down by their schedule. Both came together late and helped get me my third straight win, as well as my 8th correct pick in my last 10 tries.

This hot stretch pushed me to 60-47-2 on the year and I’ll try to keep the positive momentum going on Thursday’s six-game NBA betting slate.

There are a few directions to go in here, but it should be known that four of these games opened with lines at -6.5 or much worse (three were over -10.5). One of those games dropped significantly, likely due to scheduling and fatigue.

Still, I find myself drawn to possibly the most explosive contest on the slate – a duel between the Lakers and Pelicans in New Orleans.

Fatigue could be a general theme on this slate (four teams played last night), but the most tired team of all has to be the Pels. They’ll stand in as -3 favorites at home against the visiting Lakers, but it’s arguable bettors shouldn’t love them in this spot.

Let’s take a closer look at this showdown to see what the best betting angle might be:

Los Angeles Lakers (+2.5)
VS
New Orleans Pelicans (-2.5)
Total: 228

I’ll keep it pretty simple for tonight’s pick. First off, the Pels don’t defend well and bettors are looking at two teams sitting inside the top-three in the league in terms of pace.

Undoubtedly, this 228 Total is very high, but it’s absolutely in play. After taking a night off from their offensive tirade (won a defensive battle last night), New Orleans should be back to their explosive ways.

The Lakers only add to that line of thinking, as L.A. is the fastest team in the league and Lonzo Ball knows nothing but pushing the tempo.

This is a matchup Ball can thrive in. Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday aren’t going to be focused on stopping the ball and this is a setting where you can expect a lot of shots and hopefully a lot of points.

The only real concern here is that the Pels could be a little worn down. Not only did they play last night, but they also played on Tuesday night. Yes, that means due to rescheduling, New Orleans will be playing for a third night in a row.

Even Anthony Davis is human, so it’s very possible the Pels will be dead tired by the time this game rolls around. That being said, both of these games earlier in the year went in New Orleans’ favor and both also happened to top this Total.

If you’re betting on the Total, I’m shooting for the Over.

Then there is the case of picking the game itself. The Pels are the mild home favorites, a title they’ve ridden to a solid 22-17-1 mark against the spread in general this year.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the Pels have not lived up to that label at home. New Orleans is a decent 21-15 on their home floor (SU), but when favored at the Smoothie King Center they’ve responded with a lackluster 11-15-1 ATS record.

That isn’t comforting, especially since the Lakers have had no trouble putting up points in this matchup and have morphed into a very competitive team during the second half of the season.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that the Pels haven’t beaten the Lakers this year without Boogie. The Anthony Davis show has been a fun one, but if he and the Pels are as tired as their schedule suggests they will be, they’re a very tough sell.

I’ll admit that the Pels as home favorites (-110 at GTbets) at a nice price is tough to pass on. However, trusting the scheduling and underdog ability in the past really hasn’t steered me wrong all that much.

Here you have a very viable Lakers team that thrives in the exact setting this game promises to produce. I expect a close game with a lot of points, but I like the value I get with the Lakers a little more tonight.

I think you can ride with their +2.5 spread (or a thicker one if you can find it), but I’m aiming a bit higher and simply backing the Lakers straight up. They offer a nice +125 Moneyline at Bovada and I’m down for pouncing on that.

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