Game: San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Pelicans
Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Spurs +5.5, Pelicans -5.5
Neither San Antonio nor New Orleans finished with a better than .500 record this season. The Pelicans finished just a few games ahead of the Spurs to earn the home play-in game tonight. New Orleans is also the favorite despite being beaten by San Antonio three times this season. The Spurs won three of four and took both games at the Smoothie King Center, site of tonight’s game.
The Spurs will have potentially the best player on the floor in Dejounte Murray. He averaged 21.1 points per game during the regular season. Against New Orleans this year, Murray recorded two triple-doubles and three double-doubles. He will definitely be the key for the Spurs tonight.
On the other end, the Pelicans aren’t in great shape health-wise. They have three key players – Brandon Ingram, Jonas Valanciunas, and Herb Jones – listed on the injury report. All three have been upgraded to probable, but they may not be 100 percent heading into tonight’s game. Ingram is the Pelican’s No. 2 scorer averaging 22.7 points a game. Valanciunas adds 17.8 points and is the team’s leading rebounder with 11.4 boards per game. Jones has emerged as the team’s best defender.
What New Orleans will have at full strength is guard C.J. McCollum. Since being acquired from Portland, McCollum is enjoying his best season in the NBA. He is averaging a team-high 24.3 points per game. McCollum may have to be at his best to carry the Pelicans tonight and help them advance.
Both teams had some issues at the very end of the regular season. Much of it had to do with their schedules. The Spurs lost three straight to end the regular season, but they lost to Minnesota, Golden State, and Dallas. The same holds true for New Orleans who lost their last two straight to Golden State and Memphis. San Antonio had won six of their previous seven before the trio of defeats. New Orleans had won five of six before their season-ending losses.
The Spurs were one of the better teams against the number this season. San Antonio went 43-37-2 ATS overall and had a pretty impressive 23-16-2 ATS record on the road. In their last seven games, the Spurs are 6-0-1 ATS. They are also 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven road games, 7-0 ATS in the last seven against New Orleans on the road, and 8-1 ATS in the last nine overall against the Pelicans.
The Pelicans went 5-5 ATS in their last ten games. They have not covered in a game against San Antonio at home in the last seven meetings (0-7 ATS). New Orleans is one of the top Under teams in the NBA. The Under is 9-4 in the Pelicans’ last 13 games. For the season, the Pelicans’ O/U record is 34-48.
In the four games these teams played this season, the Under is 3-1. The four game totals were 210, 215, 238, and 209. Tonight’s total is 226.