Philadelphia 76ers vs. New Orleans Pelicans Pick
Philadelphia 76ers (38 - 22 SU, 28-32 ATS) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (27-34 SU, 29-31 ATS)
When: Monday, February 25th, 2019 – 8:00 PM ET
Where: Smoothie King Center – New Orleans, LA
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PHI +1.5 / NOLA -1.5 (Intertops Sportsbook)
Power Rankings: New Orleans -2
Takeaways from Philadelphia and New Orleans’ Most Recent Games
The 76ers come in off a loss at home on Saturday when they hosted the Portland Trailblazers. Closing as a 1.5-point favorite, the Sixers were upset outright as they were defeated handily by a score of 130-115. The 76ers have failed to produce a cover in two consecutive matches.
The Pelicans step into this contest on the heels of staging an upset at home on Saturday against the Los Angeles Lakers. Closing as a 6.5-point underdog, New Orleans would defeat Los Angeles by a score of 128-115.
Sportsbook Note: At time of publish Intertops Sportsbook offered the best line for NOLA of -1.5 however lines move often especially after opening and right before tip off. Players are advised to line shop and consistently find odds at or near the best price so that long term success, or even losing less long term is more likely.
How the Public is Betting the Philadelphia and New Orleans Game
At the moment, 67% of the bettors like the 76ers here taking back the points. However, the line movement tells another story as the action seems to be going in the opposite direction. The Pelicans are now spotting an additional half point compared to their initial opening number of New Orleans -1.
The 76ers defeated the Pelicans when they hosted the Pelicans in November in what was nothing short of a thriller. Philadelphia edged out New Orleans 121-120 which enabled the Pelicans to cover as a 3.5-point underdog.
Philadelphia Center Joel Embiid will be out of service for this cross-conference clash as he is recovering from knee soreness which has put him on the shelf until early March. This is a significant blow to Philly’s offensive operations in that they are losing a 27.3 point per game scorer. In addition, the Sixers will also lose a physical presence in the paint as Embiid averages 13.5 rebounds per game. Center Boban Marajanovic got the start in place of Embiid in Philly’s last game and only managed to produce four points, two assists, and just five rebounds. Since Embiid’s injury Philly is 1-1 SU.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
Both teams enter into this contest on two days of rest. For Philadelphia, this is their first road game after completing a two-game home-stand that dates back to last Thursday when play resumed after the All-Star break. Philly will play one more on the road on Thursday at Oklahoma City before returning home on Saturday to host the Golden State Warriors. For New Orleans this is the last game of a two-game home stand for the Pelicans. New Orleans will be back on the road on Wednesday when they travel back to the City of Angels for a rematch with the Lakers.
Can Philadelphia’s Three-Point Game Pave The Way To Victory?
The Pelicans’ three-point game is nothing to marvel in. New Orleans sits 22nd in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage (34.8%) while they sit 26th in the league in defending the three-pointer as opponents shoot 36.5% from beyond the arc. This is good news for the Sixers as they can work this angle to their advantage. Philadelphia sits seventh in the league in three-point percentage (36%) and they are equally proficient in defending the three-pointer as they are also seventh in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage (34.2%). The Sixers will look to win this game by virtue of their perimeter play.
Can New Orleans Outscore The Sixers?
Both teams are known as teams that like to outscore their opponents. After all, Philadelphia’s defense sits 20th in the league in scoring (112.3 points per game) while New Orleans’ defense is even friendlier to opponents as they give up 115 points per contest (27th in the NBA). On the flip-side both teams produce 115.7 points per game which places them both in the top-five in the league in scoring. The difference maker will come down to which teams defense can make a few critical stops or make the most of key possessions. I like New Orleans prospects of doing this as they own a pivotal edge in the turnover department.
The most notable trend in this series is the narrative that the Home Team has won the last three matches between these two opponents.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: New Orleans -1.5
Given the contrasting win and loss records of both teams in this match-up, the Sixers look like easy money here taking back a point and a half. Generally speaking, when a team looks too easy, those that dare back them are setting themselves up for a let-down. Given how the public has gravitated toward Philly in this spot that situation seems set up to be unfolding. The Pelicans are by no means a losing team on their own court. In fact, New Orleans has a terrible track record playing outside of The Big Easy (9-23 SU in away games) but are 18-11 SU at home. This season in New Orleans, the Pelicans have defeated the San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets and having even managed to upset the Oklahoma City Thunder twice. This is a basketball team that plays at a higher level in its own yard and given the fact that we are only asked to spot a basket here, I think this is a true value play as New Orleans will win this one by not by basket but actually several possessions.