Denver Nuggets vs. New Orleans Pelicans Pick 1/30/19
Denver Nuggets (34 - 15 SU, 27-22 ATS) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (23-28 SU, 23-27-1 ATS)
When: Wednesday, January 30th, 2019 – 8:00 PM ET
Where: Smoothie King Center – New Orleans, LA
Point Spread: DEN -8.5 / NOLA +8.5
Power Rankings: New Orleans +2
Takeaways from Denver and New Orleans’ Most Recent Games
The Nuggets come into this match off their third consecutive victory when they defeated the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. The game was a defensive struggle that was settled by one possession as the Nuggets edged out the Grizzlies 95-92. In doing so, Denver failed to cover as a 5.5-point favorite.
The Pelicans step into this contest on the heels of an impressive 121-116 road victory against the Houston Rockets last night which snapped a three-game losing streak. The Pelicans closed as a 13.5-point underdog and produced what would be classed as a huge upset.
How the Public is Betting the Denver and New Orleans Game
At the moment, 56% of the consensus like the Pelicans here with the points. However, the line movements tell another tale as the Nuggets opened as an eight-point favorite and have found themselves spotting an additional half of a point to the Pelicans at the time this article was written.
The Pelicans won the last meeting between these two teams in November of 2018 when the Pelicans pulled out a win at home when they hosted the Nuggets. New Orleans closed as a one-point underdog but prevailed by a score of 125-115.
The Pelicans will be without star Forward Anthony Davis who has been sidelined with a finger injury. However, the prevailing storyline concerning AD is not his injury but the recent trade request he put in.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
The Pelicans are at a disadvantage in the rest department as they were just on the court in Houston last night and now have to travel home to play this game on short rest. On the contrary, the Nuggets are entering on two days’ rest. For Denver, this contest concludes a two-game road trip that will send the Nuggets back to the Mile High City to host the Houston Rockets on Friday. New Orleans will be back on the road on Saturday to face the San Antonio Spurs before returning home on Monday to host the Indiana Pacers.
Denver’s Defense Will Make Things Difficult For the Pelicans In the Big Easy
Denver remains the best team in the NBA in defensive rebounding as they give up just 41.6 boards per game to opponents. Denver is ranked sixth in offensive rebounding as they generate 46.8 boards per game. New Orleans sits 15th in defensive rebounding (44.4 boards per outing) and 6th in offensive rebounding (46.9 boards per contest), so the edge there certainly sits with the Nuggets. In addition to their prominent frontcourt presence, the Nuggets also sit sixth in scoring defense as they give up just 105.9 points per game. This is a significant difference compared to New Orleans’ defense which gives up nearly 10 more points per game. In addition to these advantages, the Nuggets commit fewer turnovers and own the deeper bench compared to their opponents. Denver’s bench scores 39.5 points per game while New Orleans’s bench averages 29.3 points per contest. Once again this creates yet another potential 10-point edge to the Nuggets. Needless to say, if the Nuggets make the most of their advantages in this game, they could very well bury the Pelicans.
The Anthony Davis Saga Continues In New Orleans
As mentioned, a massive storyline heading into this game beyond Anthony Davis’ injury is the fact that he put in a trade request and wants out of NOLA. Undoubtedly this can hinder team morale and hampers New Orleans’ playoff aspirations. Nevertheless, the Pelicans will try to hang their hat on their third-ranked scoring offense averaging 116.7 points per game. New Orleans also sits third in field goal percentage overall with a 48.2% field goal percentage. However, their defense does not give them any help as they surrender a 27th ranked 115.1 points per game.
The Pelicans have covered in the last two meetings between both parties. However, the most notable trend in this series is the narrative that the Home Team has won the previous six meetings between these two foes.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Denver -8.5
Despite other books suggesting that the Nuggets maybe extensively overvalued here, laying the points with the Nuggets is still the better choice. The absence of Anthony Davis in the frontcourt will make it easier for the Nuggets to bully the Pelicans in the paint as Davis leads the team in rebounds as he averages 13.3 boards per contest. AD also not being available will take away New Orleans’ leading scorer as he also averages 29.3 points per game. As a result, New Orleans will likely have no response to Denver’s big man Nikola Jokic who averages 20.1 points per game, 7.6 assists per contest, and 10.3 rebounds per outing. Jokic will have a field day and Denver as a whole will bully the Pelicans in the paint.
Furthermore, given how accommodating New Orleans’ defense has been all season they just cannot afford to not have their most productive offensive player available against a team as hot as the Nuggets. However, as a result of a likely overreaction, the Pelicans will look quite appealing here with the points after pulling off the upset in Houston. However, Denver is the better-rested team, and they do not have any distractions floating around the locker room as New Orleans does. It is also very likely that Houston took New Orleans lightly last night which set the stage for the upset. Denver won’t make the same mistake, and they will win this one big.