NBA Picks for Pelicans vs. Warriors Series Opener: GSW Caught Looking Ahead?

David Lawrence

Friday, April 17, 2015 11:45 AM GMT

The New Orleans Pelicans and Golden State Warriors have a small rivalry brewing. We’ll see if the Pelicans can make something more of it. They’re a huge dog on the NBA betting lines for Game 1 and for the series.

The New Orleans Pelicans can win because…
They’ve been playing playoff-type basketball for the last two months of the season. While the Warriors were on cruise control, the Pelicans were playing their butts off, trying to fend off the Phoenix Suns and Oklahoma City Thunder for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. It took until the last day of the regular season as the Pelicans had to beat the defending champion San Antonio Spurs just to secure their spot. With that type of experience down the stretch, the Pelicans won’t be intimidated by any type of high stakes.

The Pelicans may have lost three of the four meetings between the teams this season but they won the fourth and most recent. In that game, the Warriors talked trash to New Orleans and the Pelicans in turn hung 60 points on them in the second half to earn the win. That memory is going to be fresh in the minds of the Pelicans, and you can expect them to really want this one as a result.

 

The Golden State Warriors can win because…
The Pelicans are likely to be gassed, so keep this in mind when looking at the NBA betting odds. They just went toe-to-toe with the defending champs and survived. Now they have to turn it around and go to Golden State and face a Warriors team that has lost just twice at home this season.

In the Warriors eyes, they should have swept this season series as they won the first three meetings and were up by 12 at halftime in the fourth. In the first three meetings, they scored at least 112 points each time. They probably won’t lose more than a game in this series if they manage to score 112 points per outing.

Moreover, there’s a real difference in quality between the sides as the Warriors – even as they’ve been coasting down the stretch of the season – still enter the playoffs having won four straight and 16 of 18. The Pelicans were just 19-23 against teams with a winning record while the Warriors were 32-9 against teams above .500. Unless the Warriors don’t take the Pelicans seriously again, Golden State should roll in this one.

Check out the Warriors/Pelicans Series Price Futures

Outlook
In the last of the four meetings of the season, the Warriors talked trash to the Pelicans and stirred the bees nest. They told the Pelicans they’re an easy team to beat and the Pelicans responded with their first win in the four meetings this season. That’s been part of a hot stretch that saw the Pelicans finish the year with eight wins in 11 games.

This may not be a long series but look for the Pelicans to give the Warriors all they can handle – especially in Game 1. Take the Pelicans plus the points with your NBA picks.

NBA Pick: Pelicans +11.5 at The Greek