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Pelicans vs. Clippers: NBA Picks and Predictions

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Pelicans vs. Clippers: NBA Picks and Predictions
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans on January 06, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Chris Graythen/Getty Images/AFP

Wednesday is the first meeting between the Pelicans and Clippers this season. They are two teams with new coaches, and playoff aspirations coming into the season. The Clippers have started strongly at 7-4 in the Pacific Division, while the Pelicans have started 4-5 in the Southwest, and have lost their last three games. Neither team has players suffering serious injuries, and they do not have any COVID-19 related issues as of this writing. This is a prime-time matchup that is brimming with stars from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 – 10:05 PM EDT at Staples Center

Can The Pelicans Play Winning Defense?

This is the question that will likely decide this game. The Pelicans’ new coach Stan Van Gundy has been trying to instill a more defensive-minded approach to this young Pelicans’ team. Sometimes it has worked and sometimes it most definitely has not. In the Pelicans’ four wins they have surrendered only 97.5 points per game. In their five losses, however, opponents have scored an average of 113.8 points per game. That is a cataclysmic shift in offensive production by New Orleans’ opponents. When the Pelicans defend they win and when they don’t they lose, it is that simple this season. The benefit to the Pelicans’ is they should be quite rested when they take the court in Staples Center, as due to Monday’s game with Dallas being canceled, they haven’t played since Friday night.

The Pelicans are an interesting team when it comes to sports betting. According to the NBA lines, they are 2-3 ATS in their last five, only covering the spread when they win and not covering it in their losses.

Has Paul George Become A Second Kawhi Leonard?

Paul George has become something of a lightning rod in basketball circles over the last few years. He has had issues in the playoffs with the Pacers, Thunder, and now the Clippers. Yet, if you watch George over the course of this young season, you see his game looks remarkably like Kawhi Leonard’s. He is rebounding more, dishing out more assists and being more selective with his shots. He is shooting over 51% from three-point range and over 49% overall. He has been simply outstanding for the Clippers this season, and if he continues to play this way, the Clippers are a dangerous team in any game against anyone.

While the Clippers are quite obviously one of the best teams in the NBA, they are only 1-3 ATS according to NBA odds.

Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers on January 1, 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Alex Goodlett/Getty Images/AFP

Betting Analysis

This is going to be a fantastic game to watch and to bet on, because of the matchup of these two teams. You’ve got the experienced hands of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George going against the young up and coming duo of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. Leonard and George are certainly the more well known and accomplished pair, but you can make the case that New Orleans’ young tandem has been every bit as good this season.

Stan Van Gundy is a difference-maker as a head coach for this New Orleans team. They are young and largely inexperienced, and Van Gundy will instill values in them needed to become winners. It may not be a smooth journey, but they have the right man shepherding them on the way. The issue will be consistency. We already see that’s the issue in their defensive effort. That is the key to this game. Can New Orleans sustain their defensive intensity for forty eight minutes against an elite team?

I think the table is set for them to be successful in that task on Wednesday night. First they will be rested since they haven’t played since Friday. Second, they are off three consecutive losses, so they have had a bad taste in their mouth for the last five days. This spot looks like a good one for the Pelicans to come out and give a strong effort. When looking at our wagering options at BetOnline, the best bet for me is to trust Stan Van Gundy and New Orleans to right the ship against a tough opponent.

NBA Pick: Pelicans +6 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

Pelicans +6(-110)
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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.