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Pelicans vs. Thunder: betting odds and predictions for Apr. 21

Publish Date: 04/21/2024
Fact checked by: Allan Howe
Key Points
  • Zion Williamson will miss a second straight game due to injury.
  • New Orleans is trending down defensively.
  • Oklahoma City is 33-8 at home this season, tearing it up defensively.
  • The Pelicans will look to the 3 to compete, but the Thunder have allowed under 37% to fall in April.

After an emotional run through the play-in tournament which saw them lose Zion Williamson to injury, the Pelicans will have a very true reality check ahead of them with the mighty Oklahoma City Thunder lurking in the first round.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

This is a team that overcame adversity to get here in the first place, losing Brandon Ingram to injury before finding the wins required late in the season to push up the standings and nearly avoid the play-in tournament altogether, and they'll need to do so again here without their lead man.

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Oklahoma City has been one of the toughest teams to take out at home, and should have a multitude of ways to get the job done on Sunday, earning themselves plenty of respect from oddsmakers heading into Game 1.

Let's get into how to bet on Pelicans vs. Thunder on Sunday, April 21.

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS VS. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER FANDUEL ODDS FOR APR. 21

MONEY LINE

  • NEW ORLEANS PELICANS: +290
  • OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER: -360

SPREAD

  • NEW ORLEANS PELICANS: +8.5 (-108)
  • OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER: -8.5 (-112)

OVER/UNDER (TOTAL)

  • OVER 215 (-110)
  • UNDER 215 (-110)

BEST ODDS FOR NEW ORLEANS PELICANS VS. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

  • The best odds on the underdogs here are over at FanDuel, where you can get Pelicans +8.5 (-108)
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  • Caesars has the best line on Oklahoma City, offering Thunder -8.5 (-110)

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  • The best odds on the Over are at DraftKings, offering Over 214.5 (-110). You'll find the best odds on the Under over at FanDuel, who has the total set at 215 points.

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NEW ORLEANS PELICANS VS. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS INJURY REPORT

  • ZION WILLIAMSON - OUT - HAMSTRING

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • NONE

WHY NEW ORLEANS PELICANS WILL COVER THE SPREAD

The Pelicans have experience in pulling up their bootstraps in the face of a huge injury, having just rattled off a run of wins which nearly earned them the sixth seed in the Western Conference. Yes, they'll be missing a huge component of their offense, but they did figure out how to score without the services of Ingram and know the recipe for success without one guy to lean on.

The key here will be shooting. A barrage of 3-pointers, mainly from CJ McCollum is what lifted the Pelicans to so many victories down the stretch -- and while Oklahoma City grades out as one of the very best defensive teams in the NBA it has been ever so vulnerable against the outside shot, though even there it has allowed under 37% shooting from 3 since the calendar turned to April.

That will need to continue to be what's technically the weakness of the Thunder defense, and it helps that New Orleans has actually shot better on the road this season than at home.

WHY OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER WILL COVER THE SPREAD

Where do I begin? The Thunder are 33-8 straight up and 27-14 against the spread at home this season, and while they've actually fared slightly worse from 3 in these games their work on defense has been significantly better, which says a lot considering this is a top-five defense in the NBA.

New Orleans will attempt to win this game from downtown and again, while it's technically the weaker side of the Thunder defense, they've improved by around a percentage point in the month of April and sit in the top half of the league in this regard. They've also begun to rebound the ball -- something they did worse than nearly every other team this season -- sitting above-average for the month of April.

I could wax poetic about this defense for a few hundred more words, especially with arguably the biggest offensive threat its opponent has sitting on the bench.

It's easy to say just as much about the offense, which has been rather dominant in every shooting zone and has done excellent work in the mid-range, so much so that it's remained one of the most efficient scoring bunches in the NBA despite favoring the most inefficient shot in basketball.

What it all boils down to here is that with improvements in the rebounding department, and lethal 3-point hit rate for the season, the Thunder are well-positioned to win this game against a team which has dropped off significantly in the month of April.

FINAL PELICANS-THUNDER PICK & PREDICTION

The Pelicans were one of the better rebounding teams in the NBA for most of the season, while the Thunder were down near the bottom of the league. The script has flipped here with both teams moving in much different directions, and on top of that the Pelicans' superb defense fell off a cliff in April.

While some of that had to do with the loss of Ingram, the fact remains that this is a much different team than the one which we saw start the season on a high note, and unless they run into a hot 3-point shooting night it will be tough to compete with the Thunder.

I like Oklahoma City to run away with this one, flexing its defensive muscles and torching a defense down on its luck over the past few seasons with its high-octane offense.

FINAL PELICANS-THUNDER PICK & PREDICTION: OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER -8.5 (-112)

To keep yourself updated on the newest happenings, be sure to check out our Betting News Section. We've organized all the updates so you can find all you need, in one convenient location.

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