New Orleans Pelicans vs. Los Angeles Lakers Pick

by | Dec 21, 2018 | nba

New Orleans Pelicans (15-17 SU, 15-17 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (18-13 SU, 12-18-1 ATS)
When: Friday, December 21st, 2018 – 10:30 PM ET
Where: Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA
TV: ESPN
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: NOLA +5 / LAL -5 (Bovada)
Total: 234.5
Power Rankings: Los Angeles -4

Takeaways From New Orleans and Los Angeles’ Most Recent Games

The Pelicans are currently riding a two-game losing streak as they venture out toward Los Angeles. Most recently, the Pelicans were defeated on the road against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference at the moment the Milwaukee Bucks. The Pelicans fell on Wednesday by a score of 123-115 but managed to foster a cover as a nine-point underdog.

Reflecting a similar trend, the Lakers also enter into this contest on a present two-game losing streak. Los Angeles’ most recently were upset as a 1.5-point favorite when they were defeated by the Brooklyn Nets on the road Tuesday by a score of 115-110. The Lakers overall are 1-4 ATS over their last five outings.

How the Public is Betting the New Orleans-Los Angeles Game

Presently, 64% of the betting public are taking back the points with the Pelicans. In light of the aforementioned narrative, the line has moved upward by half of a point on the Lakers.

The Historicals

The Pelicans and Lakers has been a one-sided series as of late as the Pelicans have won five of the last six meetings between both parties. The two teams last met in March in New Orleans where the Pelicans defeated the Lakers 128-125 as a 2.5-point favorite.

Injury Concerns

All-NBA Pelicans forward Anthony Davis is listed as questionable for Friday’s game as he continues to battle an illness. Davis being absent would be a huge blow to the Pelicans as he leads the team in scoring with 28 points per game and rebounding with 12.3 boards per game. AD also averages a team-leading 2.8 blocks per game.

How Will New Orleans Fare On The Road?

The Pelicans own a paltry 4-12 SU road record. A big question regarding how this team will perform in this game is how they will tackle the environs of playing in the always unwelcoming Staples Center. With Anthony Davis battling an illness, the star forward will likely not be playing at 100% even if he were take the court against the Lakers. From an offensive standpoint the Pelicans have all the tools to not only make this a game but potentially pull an upset as they stand at second in the NBA scoring (116.7 points per game) while also averaging a sensational 47.8% field goal percentage (3rd in the league).

The Lakers Continue Their March For Relevance

LeBron James took his services to one of the NBA’s most storied franchises after he left Cleveland in the off-season. As a result, there has been new found hope for the future of Lakers basketball. With a high ceiling forecasted for this Los Angeles team after spending years in a rebuilding phase, the Lakers have made noticeable strides in 2018 as they now stand 2.5 games out of first place in the highly competitive Pacific Division and fourth overall in the Western Conference standings. This is significant considering the Lakers finished 11th in the conference in 2017 and have not made the post-season since the 2012-13 season. Los Angeles stands at 11-4 SU on their own floor this season and they like their counterparts in this contest emphasize smart shot selection producing a matching third-ranked 47.8% field goal percentage on the year.

Betting Trends

The Pelicans have been a cash cow in this series as they have gone 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings between these two teams. As a whole, New Orleans is 17-6 ATS in the last 23 contests that took place in Los Angeles.

Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Los Angeles -5

Anytime an underdog gets the amount of consensus attention that the Pelicans have seen in the build-up to this contest, a red flag is raised immediately. Such an event is a sign that the favorite in the contest is likely undervalued and this is a premise that needs consideration with respect to the fact that Lakers are prone to inflicting premiums on takers by virtue of the fact that the best player in the game wears a Lakers jersey. Overall, Los Angeles’s against the spread record would showcase such a phenomenon taking place but this is one of those occurrences where the Lakers actually bode value. After all, the Pelicans have not played a good brand of basketball on the road this season. Furthermore, The King has put up the usual dominant numbers we would expect from him in 2018 as he averages 28 points per game, 7 assists per outing, and 7.9 rebounds per contest and he has a good match-up against the 26th-ranked scoring defense in the NBA as the Pelicans give up 115.3 points per game. With all the question marks surrounding Anthony Davis, the Pelicans will likely have no response to LeBron James and if that is the case this one can get out of hand quickly.

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