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NBA Play-In Tournament Lakers vs Pelicans Prediction, Odds, Pick (Tuesday, April 16)

Updated:2024-05-01 04:52    Views:169

Lakers vs. Pelicans OddsTuesday, Apr 167:30pm ETTNTLakers OddsSpreadTotalMoneyline+1-115224-110o / -110u-110Pelicans OddsSpreadTotalMoneyline-1-105224-110o / -110u-110Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about Lakers vs. Pelicans on Tuesday, April 16 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today's game.

The Lakers will take on the Pelicans once again Tuesday night in a battle for the 7-seed. Can Los Angeles blow New Orleans out in front of its home fans twice in three days, or will the Pelicans rise to the occasion and clinch a playoff berth?

Let's take a look at the NBA play-in odds and make a Lakers vs. Pelicans pick for Tuesday.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers dominated this Pelicans team from start to finish Sunday, winning 124-108. The game was really never in doubt for them and they should enter this one with a ton of confidence. Recency bias is strong, so it would be easy to argue the Lakers are just going to walk into Smoothie King Center and roll over the Pelicans once again, but that is unlikely to happen in my opinion.

Every basketball game is different, and this Pelicans team will have ample time to review the film and make adjustments in preparation for this one. We also saw Anthony Davis leave the game with back spasms, and while it is unlikely he sits Tuesday, it’s likely he isn’t 100% for this one.

Let’s start with the adjustments New Orleans needs to make against this offense. The Pelicans allowed an untenable 48% rim rate to the Lakers, allowing LA to shoot 80% on those looks. That is now two straight games in which New Orleans got absolutely destroyed in the paint against LA; the Lakers attempted 43% of their shots at the rim and converted on 77% of those looks Feb. 9 against the Pelicans.

The Lakers scored 139 points in that game, and after two straight games of disastrous rim defense by the Pelicans, that will be a point of emphasis for Willie Green on Tuesday. I expect New Orleans to make a concerted effort to defend the rim and force the Lakers into jump shots. The Lakers rank 28th in 3-point attempt rate and seventh in 3-point percentage (38.7%) on the season. They rank second in the NBA in 3-point percentage (40.4%) since the All-Star break.

The Pelicans may get burned behind the 3-point line, but it is still a better strategy than allowing layups and dunks all game long.

New Orleans Pelicans

On the flip side of the ball, the Pelicans will need to find a way to generate more efficient half-court offense; they were atrocious in that department Sunday. They had a 92 offensive rating (33rd percentile) in the half-court in that game, and it has been an area they’ve struggled with over the past month.

For the season, New Orleans ranks 11th in half-court offensive rating. But over their last 10 games, the Pelicans are averaging just 97.3 points per 100 possessions, which ranks them 18th over that span.

You would hope the offensive efficiency would improve with the return of Brandon Ingram to regular minutes. Ingram has been one of their best offensive players all season long and he is one of a few players on this team who can truly create his own shot consistently. Ingram only logged 23 minutes in the game Sunday, but Green has already said he will be increasing Ingram’s minutes in this one. CJ McCollum had a 33.3% usage rate to Ingram’s 19%, and I would expect those numbers to converge here as Ingram starts to ramp up.

The Pelicans also need to take care of the ball better here after turning the ball over 19 times Sunday. The Lakers were terrific in transition off steals but actually slightly below average in terms of transition efficiency off live rebounds. New Orleans must make sure it does not turn the ball over at that rate so it can set its half-court defense against this up-tempo LA squad.

Lakers vs. Pelicans

Betting Pick & Prediction

The recency bias will be heavy with people rushing to back the Lakers, but I still can’t back the Pelicans given some of the coaching decisions and the way they’ve looked of late. This line is right on the money and I don’t see much value backing either team.

One thing I am confident in is some of the adjustments we should see from Green in a must-win game. Looking back on Sunday’s loss, the Pelicans lost the game in the first six minutes of the second quarter, when Green tried to play Zion Williamson at the five instead of playing a true center. The Lakers absolutely dominated that lineup, scoring at will at the rim and jumping out to a 22-point lead.

The biggest adjustments I see occurring is even more Larry Nance Jr. minutes, less Dyson Daniels, no Cody Zeller and potentially very limited Jonas Valančiūnas. Nance was a +2 in a game the Pelicans lost by 16 and did everything that was asked of him, knocking down a 3 and dishing out four assists. His minutes have been trending up as Valančiūnas trends down, and I expect rim defense to be the No. 1 point of emphasis for this Pelicans squad.

I also expect Jose Alvarado minutes to go up after he played just 19 minutes in Sunday’s loss. Alvarado has actually been the Pelicans' best player in terms of on-off net-rating swing (+9.8) this season and he played 35 minutes the prior game against the Warriors. Don’t be shocked if McCollum plays a bit less Tuesday given how awful he has been at taking care of the ball and on defense.

I’ll be taking Alvarado over 9.5 points + rebounds + assists and also looking to play some alt lines for him when they get posted. I also like Williamson under 24.5 points, as we could see his minutes trend down after an awful 4-of-13 game Sunday; Williamson had a high 27.5% usage rate and only scored 12 points. The Lakers are fifth in opponent rim rate allowed, which is where Williamson lives, so this is not just not a good matchup for him.

Target those props rather than the side Tuesday night.

Pick: Jose Alvarado Over 9.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists | Zion Williamson Under 24.5 Points

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