Pelicans vs. Suns NBA Picks: Who Will Clinch the Last Western Conference Playoff Spot?

Darin Zank

Thursday, March 19, 2015 12:44 PM GMT

The NBA doesn't exactly take the day off to make way for the college kids Thursday, but it's slate is limited. So we'll put all our allotted NBA eggs in one Pick of the Day basket for Thursday.

New Orleans and Phoenix are both still alive in the battle for the last Western Conference playoff spot, so there's plenty at stake for Thursday night's Pelicans-Suns battle out in Phoenix.


The Situation
New Orleans apparently found something during the All-Star break, because since then it's gone 10-4 SU, 8-6 ATS, after nipping Milwaukee Tuesday night 85-84. The Pelicans led that game by eight points in the fourth quarter, allowed the Bucks to rally and tie, took a late lead and survived a Milwaukee 3-pointer that bounced out at the buzzer.

New Orleans would own a five-game winning streak if it had just hung on against Denver Sunday, instead of bowing in double-overtime.

Phoenix, on the other hand, is 5-8 SU, but 8-5 ATS since the break, after beating New York Sunday 102-89. The Suns shot 49 percent from the floor Sunday, out-rebounded the Knicks 60-42 and covered as 11-point favorites on the NBA betting odds.

So Phoenix is now 2-2 SU and ATS on its current five-game home-stand.

Big-picture; at 37-30 New Orleans sits in ninth place in the Western Conference, but just a half-game back of eighth-place Oklahoma City. Phoenix, at 35-33, isn't out of anything yet, either, sitting just 2.5 games behind the Pelicans. With a victory tonight the Suns could pull to within 1.5 games of New Orleans and two games of the Thunder.

Check Out This Other Capper's Take on Pelicans/Suns

Recent History
Phoenix had beaten New Orleans four times in a row, but the Pelicans took the first meeting between these teams this season back in December 110-106, covering as two-point home favorites. That game was close throughout, and tied at 100-100 late, but a 10-6 spurt provided New Orleans with the victory.

The Pelicans shot 52 percent from the floor that night, and held a 59-40 advantage on the boards.

Also, that game sneaked OVER its total of 213 by three points, as the teams combined to shoot 17-for-39 (44 percent) on 3-pointers.

 

Betting Trends
New Orleans is 14-18 SU, 18-14 ATS on the road this season.

Phoenix is 19-15 SU, 17-17 ATS at home.

New Orleans is leaning toward the OVERS this season by a 36-31 margin, as Pelicans games are averaging 199 points.

Phoenix is 33-34 on the totals, even though Suns games are averaging 209 points, right up there among the most in the league. They've also played six UNDERS in a row. Obviously Phoenix has been battling some big OVER/UNDERS this season.

The most common two-pick parlay combination on Suns games this season has been Phoenix paired with the UNDER, which has come in 19 times out of 68 games overall, and four times in the last six games.

The most common combination for Pelicans games has been New Orleans/OVER, which has cashed in 23 times out of 67 games.

 

Injury Update
Both these teams are a bit banged up at the moment; New Orleans is playing without G Jrue Holiday and F Ryan Anderson, who are both averaging 15 PPG this season, while Phoenix G Brandon Knight and C Alex Len are both dealing with sprained ankles, and are doubtful for tonight.

Share with Fellow Bettors Your Picks for Tonight's Games

The Line
Phoenix opened as a one-point favorite for this game, with a total of 201, but bettors quickly flipped the favorite, steaming New Orleans to -1 and -1.5.

 

NBA Play of the Day Pick
New Orleans is the hotter team, and beat Phoenix the last time they met, but the absences of Holiday and Anderson concern us. Those two combined for 40 points in that Pelicans victory over the Suns back in December. So we lean toward Phoenix on the side. And in thinking these teams won't shoot the ball as well as they did in that last meeting we're leaning toward the UNDER on the total for our NBA picks.

Free NBA Two-Pick: Suns +1.5 and UNDER 200 at BetOnline

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