Bet Pelicans +7 vs. Spurs for NBA Picks

David Lawrence

Saturday, November 8, 2014 2:58 PM GMT

Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014 2:58 PM GMT

Over the past few seasons, the San Antonio Spurs have had nothing to worry about when playing the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans. Should anything be different as this season begins? They're a big favorite on the NBA betting lines for this one.

The New Orleans Pelicans Can Win Because…
They are now in a much better position to at least play the Spurs close on the road, if not win. New Orleans has a player in Anthony Davis who is playing like a star, and who came of age last season, when he averaged just over 20 points per game. Davis is even better at the start of this season, posting 23.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and four blocked shots per game. Remember, he’s only 21 years old and won’t turn 22 until March of next year. He’s already a star and is headed toward superstardom if he keeps this up.

The key point with respect to Davis is that he’s going up against a San Antonio frontline that isn’t whole. Tim Duncan sat out of Thursday’s game for the Spurs against the Houston Rockets, as did Tiago Splitter. The Spurs are banged up and already in a position where the energies of their prime players are having to be managed. This was not the start the Spurs wanted in defense of their title, but head coach Gregg Popovich knows he needs to rotate and rest his players if he’s concerned about their levels of effectiveness. This is a sensible long-term precaution to take, but in the short term, Davis could run wild against the Spurs’ backup bigs. We’ll see if Duncan and (or) Splitter play, but if they do, they might be rusty and unable to keep up with Davis.

New Orleans also has a defense which ranks sixth in the NBA, giving up just a little over 94 points per game. San Antonio missed each of its first 13 three-point attempts on Thursday against Houston, so if the Pelicans can defend the dribble-drive to the basket, they could shut down San Antonio here.

 

The San Antonio Spurs Can Win Because…
They're a team which has proven many times over that odd lineups don’t need to prevent victories from occurring. Popovich relies on the depth of his team to carry the Spurs through situations such as this one. He has a lot of practice putting makeshift lineups on the court and getting them to beat average or worse teams at home. New Orleans is better than last season, but the Pelicans still have a ways to go before they can be thought of as a playoff team. The Pelicans are playoff contenders, but they’re not yet a team that looks like a playoff club. It’s going to require a few really big wins to make that happen. New Orleans is 19th in the league in points scored, with 96.5, and is 17th in assists per game with 21. New Orleans’ offense turned to sludge earlier in the week against the Memphis Grizzlies. The team hit just 34 percent of its shots, and went 4 of 24 from three-point range. The team hit only 66 percent of its free throws. The backcourt and the bench both have to give support to Davis, and that support might not exist in this game against a team, San Antonio, which has the best bench in professional basketball.

 

Outlook
When making your NBA picks its worth considering that it will be extremely hard for the Pelicans to win this game outright, but with the Spurs’ injury and rest issues, New Orleans has an excellent chance of keeping this game close and within the NBA odds.

Free NBA Picks: New Orleans +7 at The Greek

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