Pelicans And Spurs To Stay 'Under' The Total Our Free NBA Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 5:51 PM GMT

The Spurs may be 40-8 and averaging 104.5 points per game, but they are also playing some of the best defense in the NBA and that could spark an ‘under’ vs. the Pelicans Wednesday.

 

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NBA Pick: Under 207 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

The team with the second best record in the NBA is in action Wednesday night and its stiff defense could help result in an ‘under’ in a game with a seemingly inflated total when the New Orleans Pelicans (18-29, 20-27 ATS) pay a visit to those San Antonio Spurs (40-8, 31-17 ATS) at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX at 8:35 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Southwest.

The posted total at Bookmaker is 207 for this contest with the current NBA odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.

 

Spurs Reach 40 Wins
With the Golden State Warriors dominating NBA headlines with their 44-4 record, the Spurs may have the quietest 40-8 record ever right now as they seek their 35th consecutive home win tonight going back to last year. The Spurs bounced back from a double-digit loss at Cleveland by improving to 26-0 at home with a 107-92 win over Orlando, and a win here would match the 1947-48 Washington Capitols for the third best home start in NBA history at 27-0.

The Pelicans have been decimated by injuries this season and that was a key reason for their terrible start. They are now without Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon, but they are actually playing better basketball as of late as they were the winning NBA picks in five of the seven games of a just completed home stand. Remember that a fully healthy New Orleans team made the NBA Playoffs as an eight-seed last year, but the Pels are 4½ games out of a playoff spot right now.

 

Underappreciated San Antonio Defense
While it is not surprising that the Warriors and Spurs have the two best records in the Western Conference (and in fact in the entire NBA) as they were the two favorites to win the West before the season, the fact that they have separated themselves from the rest of the conference by so much is a surprise. Then again, not many experts expected the San Antonio defense to be this great either.

There was a once a time when stiff defense was the staple of the San Antonio franchise, but Coach Gregg Popovich has changed his approach in recent years by playing at a much faster tempo offensively, adjusting his style to fit the strengths of his personnel, which is why “Pop” will be in the Hall of Fame when his coaching career finally ends. However, that increased scoring usually led to a drop-off on the defensive end.

Such is not the case this season though as while the Spurs are sixth in the league in scoring with their 104.5 points per game, first in field goal percentage at a robust 49.1 percent and second in three-point shooting at 38.6 percent, this team would not be at 40-8 right now if not for simultaneously leading the NBA in points against defensively at just 91.2 per game while ranking third in field goal percentage allowed and second in three-point defense!

All San Antonio games are averaging a combined 195.7 points this season, which is more than 11 points lower than this posted total of 207, and eight of the last nine head-to-head meetings between these teams have seen less than 207 combined points scored.

 

Disappointing Ending to Home Stand
The Pelicans were actually 5-1 on their home stand before it came to a disappointing end with a 110-95 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. It is also worth noting that just one of the five wins on the home stand came over a team that is currently over .500, and not by much with the Detroit Pistons sitting at 26-23, so do not read too much in this New Orleans winning stretch.

The Pelicans are without two reliable outside shooters in Evans and Gordon, and they should feel the effect of that more vs. stiffer competition, especially taking on one of the premier defenses in the NBA here. Yes, Anthony Davis is a beast but he is probably not enough to pick up the slack for all of the missing perimeter offense, especially since he does most of his damage closer to the basket.

So while the Pels are a commendable ninth in the league in scoring with their 102.6 points per game, we do not expect them to sniff that average in this spot and this posted total is high enough where just one team not pulling its offensive weight should be enough to keep the contest ‘under’ the total.

 

Spurs Usually Tighten Up quickly
Finally, the Spurs failed to cover the point spread in their 15-point win over the Magic Monday, but the ‘under’ is 13-3 in the Spurs’ last 16 games following an ATS loss as Coach Popovich is a master of making defensive adjustments. The ‘under’ is also 36-16-1 in the Pelicans’ last 53 road games.

With the Spurs having the best scoring defense in the league and with the Pelicans being short-handed at the guard spot, look for those ‘under’ patterns to continue when New Orleans visits San Antonio on Wednesday.