Free Picks: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Pelicans vs Clippers NBA
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, Smoothie King Center

The Los Angeles Clippers are coming off a much-needed victory which snapped what had been a season-high three-game losing streak heading into the All-Star break. They have had a lot of trouble stringing wins together recently, however. The Clippers haven’t won back-to-back games in over a month, which is their longest such drought since before the arrivals of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard before the 2019-2020 season.

Clippers Look For A Win In The Bayou Against Pels (Season Betting Record: 58-61)

However, the Clippers are a top five team in the league, and quality teams like that don’t remain this erratic for long, so we’d expect them to start showing some consistency now. And they’re in a good spot to do that, both Leonard and George are at full strength, and when that’s the case the Clippers are 18-6 straight up.

Not to mention that the Pelicans have been struggling recently, dropping three of their past four games, including an embarrassing showing against the NBA doormats, Minnesota, a few days ago.

The youthful Pelicans—who boast a squad that averages 25.1 years of age, tied for fifth-youngest in the NBA—are still figuring out how to wade through this season, especially with the games coming quick and fast. New Orleans has gone just 3-6 against the spread when they have the rest disadvantage and 9-16 ATS on one days’ rest this season.

The Pelicans have really struggled against the best of the best in their conference this season, posting a 3-9 record ATS when they go up against the West’s top eight, which is one of the biggest reasons we like the Clippers spread as one of our best bets for today. We’d expect Leonard, George, and pest Patrick Beverley will also be very bothersome to New Orleans’ strong outside shooters.

The Clippers have also been solid as away favorites this season, covering the spread in 10 of the 16 games where that’s the situation. Our first NBA pick for this Western Conference tilt will be on the Clippers to continue their dominance against teams that are sub-.500 (16-4 SU this season), though we will buy their spread up to -4.5 points at -128 NBA odds.

With two of the top five teams in terms of over hit rate meeting in this matchup, we love the over on this game’s 235 point total at -120 NBA odds just as much as L.A.’s spread, maybe more. Knowing that all six of New Orleans’ contests against the five teams that average more points per game than them have hit the total, the over just has to be one of our top picks of the day.

The Pelicans’ poor defense is also a good marker for us, with six of nine Clippers games against bottom five teams in defensive efficiency going over the total this season. New Orleans has also struggled to stop the premiere squads from imposing their wills offensively, with eight of 12 Pelicans games against the West’s top eight going over as well.

Our third and final NBA pick for this clash will be on one of the most exciting young hoopers in the league, Zion Williamson. Though he hasn’t hit 25 points in two straight games, we like the over on his 25.5 points prop at lovely -110 NBA odds.

Zion has come out to play against the big boys this season, posting a 29.8 scoring average in his last seven games against the Western Conference’s top eight teams. Williamson scoring under 25 in back-to-back games is also the first time he’s done that since the first week of January, so the kid is due for a bounce back. The Clippers and their lack of a dominant force in the defensive paint seem like a great opponent against which he can get back on track.

Stats

  • The over is 6-0 when New Orleans plays the top five teams in ppg this season
  • Los Angeles is 16-4 SU against teams below .500
  • New Orleans is 3-9 ATS against the Western Conference’s top 8 teams
  • Zion Williamson has averaged 29.8 points in his last seven games against the West’s top 8

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Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve. Follow Alex on Twitter

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