Bet the Under for Pelicans vs. Lakers

Darin Zank

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 1:51 PM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 4, 2014 1:51 PM GMT

Neither New Orleans or the Lakers are going to make the playoffs this year. For the Pelicans, that comes as no surprise. But for LA, which wasn't quite prepared for a non-Kobe eventuality, this will be its first non-playoff season since 2004-05. So who should we be backing for our sports picks in this affair?

Tuesday night's Lakers-Pelicans match-up out in LA (10:30 pm ET) doesn't look like it will generate a lot of excitement, but it does look like it provides a good spot for an NBA wager. Which way will we go?

The Betting Line

Most NBA betting outlets opened this game as a pick 'em, with a total of right around 210. But early action pushed LA into a favorite of -1.5 or -2 on the basketball odds board.

According to Sagarin's PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com this game should be a pick 'em.

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Last Night

Both these teams played Monday night.

LA sneaked out a tough road victory with a 107-106 decision at Portland, getting an alley-oop hoop  from Wesley Johnson with six seconds left for the winning points. The Lakers, who led almost the entire way, hit eight of 18 shots from 3-point land in winning outright as 12-point dogs.

Meanwhile New Orleans lost at Sacramento 96-89, shooting less than 43 percent from the field, making just six of 20 shots from beyond the arc, failing to cover as five-point dogs. The Pelicans have now lost eight games in a row.

The Situation

Big picture, New Orleans is 14 games under .500 at 23-37, in 12th place in the Western Conference, 13 games off the pace for the eight seed.

LA had lost three games in a row, and seven of eight, but has won its last two, beating Sacramento last Friday 126-122, then upsetting the Blazers Monday night. Nonetheless the Lakers, at 21-37, are tied for last place in the West. 

Pelicans-Lakers By the Numbers

New Orleans is shooting 46 percent from the floor this season, 38 percent from 3-point land and 76 percent from the FT line. The Pelicans are also allowing opponents to shoot 46 percent, while out-rebounding foes by about a half a board per game.

LA is shooting 45 percent from the field, 38 percent from long range and 75 percent from the line. The Lakers are also allowing opponents to shoot 46 percent, and getting out-rebounded by a league-worst seven boards per game. In the NBA, a -7 rebounding margin is absolute huge.

Pelicans-Lakers Recent History

These teams have split two games so far this season. Back in the second week of the season the Pelicans beat the Lakers 96-85 in New Orleans, while four days later LA beat the 'Cans 116-95 at Staples Center. The Lakers shot a combined 47 percent from the floor in those two games, while New Orleans shot just 42 percent.

It sounds strange, but the Pelicans were favored in both those games; they covered at -9 in the first meeting, but lost outright at -3.5 in the second.

That first meeting played way UNDER its posted total of 203, while the second toppled OVER its total of 200.

Pelicans-Lakers Betting Trends

New Orleans is 28-30 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, as Pelicans games have averaged 201 total points.

LA is 34-25 on the totals, as Lakers games have averaged 208 points.

Injury Update

LA, of course, is still playing without Kobe Bryant, and Steve Nash. We wonder if either of them will ever play a game in the NBA again.

Recently the Lakers have also been without G Nick Young (17 PPG), who's dealing with a sore knee, and F Chris Kaman has missed recent action with a sore back.

New Orleans, meanwhile, is without G Jrue Holiday (14 PPG), who went down and out for the season with a fractured tibia (ouch); C Jason Smith (10 points, six boards per game), who's gone after messing up his knee; and F Ryan Anderson (20/7), who's dealing with a disc problem in his back.

Free NBA Pick

We're not sure who's going to win this game; frankly, we don't trust either team enough at the moment to make a pick on the side. But 210 points on the total just looks like a bit too much for this spot, considering both teams are missing key people and both played last night. So we'll go with the UNDER, offered at 210.5 at Ladbrokes, for our free NBA pick for Tuesday.

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