On the last day of the regular season, NBA basketball handicappers and those making sports picks are not used to seeing the San Antonio fighting for positioning for the NBA playoffs, yet this is the Spurs situation.
However, at least San Antonio knows there in the playoffs, New Orleans situation is far more desperate, understanding a loss means their season is likely over since Oklahoma City, whom they are tied with, just has to defeat Minnesota who is on an 11-game losing streak.
What should those studying the NBA betting odds be looking for on their sports picks on this important contest, let’s find out.
San Antonio Cannot Afford a Slip Up
The Spurs have won 11 in row (9-2 ATS) and 21 of 24 (18-6 ATS), to forge their way into second place in the hotly contested Western Conference. In most years, coach Gregg Popovich might not even care about the seeding, realizing the difference between second or third is not that great, especially when you have a team with the mental makeup he has and might rest some players.
However, this is a different year with three teams presently bunched together with 26 losses and Memphis one behind at 27, a loss at New Orleans opens up the possibility of falling all the way to a fifth or sixth which would result in never having a home court advantage in all likelihood.
While Popovich has cemented his place as a Hall of Fame coach, he’s often done so by keeping things simple and finding ways to outmaneuver opponents by breaking down their weaknesses, yet still having his team play their game. In this phenomenal surge over the last 24 games, San Antonio has a league-best scoring average of 109.7 points a game and field-goal percentage (49.5). This period coincided with everyone finally healthy and Tony Parker, Kawahi Leonard and Tim Duncan have led the charge.
During this stretch the Spurs have not faced the Pelicans, having last faced them on New Year ’s Eve.
Win or Go Home for New Orleans
It has been four years since the New Orleans franchise was in the playoffs and facing San Antonio would appear to be a daunting challenge, but not to coach Monty Williams. "We get to play the champs on our home floor," Williams said. "Our crowd should be crazy and our guys should have a good time with it."
If you prefer home underdogs against the betting odds for NBA picks, you have to like Williams outlook and he knows his squad is playing well and enjoyed good fortune to even be in this position. The Pelicans have taken seven of 10 (5-4-1 ATS), while the Thunder who are missing two starters have dropped seven of 10 games despite the heroics of Russell Westbrook.
New Orleans chances of a victory are improved with guard Jrue Holiday back in the fold. Though his minutes will be monitored, Holiday is a creator and scorer and has the ability to open up the offense, which can only benefit Anthony Davis and three-point sharp shooter Eric Gordon.
San Antonio has played in numerous elimination contests, but this is a first for New Orleans and how they react could seal their fate.
Betting Odds and Head to Head
San Antonio is a five-point favorite according to sportsbooks and as of early this morning no total had been released. The Spurs are 1-2 and 0-3 ATS against the Pelicans this season, but this will be the first time they will take them on when healthy. San Antonio is 16-9 and 13-12 ATS as a road favorite this season, winning by 5.6 points a contest. Oddly, when playing with two days’ rest, Parker and friends are 3-8-1 ATS (5-7 SU) this season.
New Orleans has been a solid home team all year at 27-13 (23-16-1 ATS) and they have thrived in the home dog role in posting a sensational 9-3 and 9-2-1 ATS mark. With one day off, Davis and the fellas are 23-18-1 ATS.
I checked my power ratings for this battle and the Spurs are predicted to win anywhere from 3 to 7 points, which is not a big help in making a prediction. One cannot possibly ignore San Antonio’s big game experience and the way they are mowing down the opposition you have to think they are a good choice.
Nevertheless, New Orleans has thrived as home underdog and when taking on quality teams which have outscored their opponents by three or more points a contest, when in the Big Easy the Pelicans are 10-2 ATS.
NBA Basketball Free Pick – New Orleans +5 at BetOnline