Sweet Spots in NBA: Pelicans Among Good Wagers This Week

Jay Pryce

Sunday, March 11, 2018 6:29 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 11, 2018 6:29 PM UTC

Our NBA betting sweet spots of the week target Tuesday’s card heavily. It explores the Pelicans against those good at defending the break, the Suns missing home-court advantage, and the Hawks versus high-scoring teams. Friday's Celtics-Magic matchup also serves up a valuable revenge angle.

NBA: Sweet Spots of the WeekTuesday: Hornets vs. Pelicans

The Pelicans' franchise-high 10-game winning streak ended Friday with a 116-97 defeat to the Wizards. In the last calendar month, Anthony Davis and crew are posting 122.4 points per game on 48.7-percent shooting.

New Orleans excels at pushing the pace and getting behind teams on the break. It averages 100.4 possessions per 48 minutes, second-most in the NBA after the Lakers (100.8). The team ranks sixth in the league with 13.9 fast-break points per game. Even the most deliberate opponents fail to slow the transition. The Pelicans are 15-4 SU and 13-6 ATS against teams surrendering 10 fast-break points or fewer per game. The Hornets allow this number exactly.

The Pelicans also tend to coax these good transition defenses into high-scoring games. The "over" is 25-11-1 when tipping off against defenses yielding less then the NBA average of 11.9 fast-break points per game. With your NBA picks, lean this bet and New Orleans against the spread when Charlotte heads to the Big Easy.

Tuesday: Cavaliers vs. Suns

Even home-court advantage can’t help the hapless Suns when up against good teams at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Hosting opponents with a point differential greater than zero, Phoenix is 1-11 SU and 5-10 ATS, failing to top a 7.5 average line by 4.5 points per game. It yields 118.0 points per game in this spot. The Cavaliers, sporting a plus-0.2 average scoring margin, own the worst cover rate in the NBA, going 20-42-3 ATS on the season. However, in this spot, look for them to open as a high, single-digit favorite on the NBA odds board and take care of business. Losing by double digits is the norm for the Suns in this spot. Moreover, the tank game for more NBA draft lottery balls is in full-effect, with Phoenix owning the second worst record (19-49) in the league.

Tuesday: Thunder vs. Hawks

The Hawks offense is poor. It scores just 105.4 points per 100 possessions, the fifth-least efficient unit in the NBA. This leads to bettors profiting regularly on game totals when Atlanta squares off against those putting up more than the 106.0 NBA point average on the year. The Hawks can’t keep up. The "under" is 18-8-1 in this spot, Atlanta posting 102.0 points per game on 43.6-percent shooting. If the opponent owns a winning record, the wager moves to 16-4 overall with Atlanta posting just 99.7 points per game. The final score is staying 4.5 points south of a 214.7 average total. The Thunder rank 13th in scoring offense, putting up 106.7 per night.

Friday: Celtics vs. Magic

The Magic stunned the Celtics 103-95 at TD Garden as 10.5-point underdogs the last time the pair met on January 21. Look for head coach Brad Stevens to avenge the loss in style. Since taking over in 2013, the Celtics are 40-18-1 ATS on the road when losing the previous matchup at home. When the two games occur in the same season, the record dips slightly to 30-15-1 overall. Look for Boston to tip off at around a 3-point favorite for this meeting. It has won and covered the spread in four of its past five as road chalk in this situation.

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