Take Pelicans over Kings for NBA Picks

Jason Lake

Monday, December 23, 2013 12:15 PM GMT

Have no fear: The Brow is here. The New Orleans Pelicans have Anthony Davis back in action as they try to beat the Sacramento Kings and the NBA odds this Monday night.

Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013, up to December 21 inclusive:

29-28 ATS

6-5 Totals

The NBA is a better place with Anthony Davis in it. But he nearly ruined everything last Wednesday when he made his surprise return for the New Orleans Pelicans. I had picked the Los Angeles Clippers as 10-point home favorites against the NBA lines, believing that Davis was going to be out another few weeks with a broken hand. Silly me. Davis put a splint on that bad boy and dumped 24 points on the Clippers with 12 rebounds; however, L.A. got paid anyway in a 108-95 victory.

I’ll say it one more time, then I’ll leave it alone: Don’t take these NBA picks as gospel. They’re being made the day before the game, and players are coming in and out of the lineup so often now that it’s getting pretty stupid to bet early. That doesn’t mean we can’t get a little homework done before we bet on the NBA. Use this information to help frame your decision, then make the appropriate adjustments as the rosters solidify closer to tip-off.

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What Can Brow Do for You?

LeBron James is still the best player in the NBA. Kevin Durant is still the second-best player in the NBA. After that? It’s a toss-up between Chris Paul and Anthony Davis. As we go to press, Davis is third in the league with a 27.9 PER, and his performance thus far is definitely MVP-worthy: 20.5 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.6 blocks, 1.5 assists, and 1.7 blocks per 36 minutes. Those rebounding numbers include 4.1 offensive boards, a very important stat for predicting future success against the NBA lines. Second-chance buckets are incredibly valuable.

It doesn’t look like that splint is bothering Davis much, either. He was at it again Saturday night, dropping 21 points and nine rebounds (four on the offensive glass) in a narrow 110-107 loss to the sizzling Portland Trail Blazers. New Orleans got paid anyway as an 8-point road dog to improve to 11-14 SU and 10-14-1 ATS. The Pelicans are 8-10 SU and 7-10-1 ATS with Davis in the lineup.

A Little Help Here

This could be the start of a beautiful friendship. PF Ryan Anderson (20.0 PER) was starting in Davis’ absence, and now that the Brow has returned, coach Monty Williams has wisely decided to leave Anderson in the starting five, shifting Davis to center. This might only be happening because Jason Smith (13.5 PER) has a bruised right knee, but as long as Anderson and Davis are working together, I’m a Pellies fan. Anderson is a fantastic stretch-4 (43.2 percent from downtown), and Davis can clearly handle himself at just about any position he plays.

New Orleans also dipped into the international ranks and signed center Alexis Ajinca, who put up four points and 11 rebounds (five offensive) on the Blazers in 17 minutes off the bench. Ajinca saw limited action with three NBA teams before going back to his native France and adding some bulk to his 7-foot-2 frame. Time will tell if Ajinca can hang with the big boys in the NBA, but he’s certainly off to a marvelous second start.

Which brings us to Monday’s matchup with the Sacramento Kings (8-18 SU, 9-16-1 ATS). Sacramento has one of the biggest dogs in the yard, center DeMarcus Cousins (26.6 PER), and we should be treated to a heck of a battle between Cousins and Davis when these two teams tip off at 10:00 p.m. ET on NBA TV. However, Cousins is foul-prone (4.6 per 36 minutes), Carl Landry is out with a torn hip flexor, and the Kings traded half their bench to get SF Rudy Gay (18.1 PER in Sacto) from the Toronto Raptors. Ajinca could be the difference-maker in a contest that the NBA betting lines are calling a pick ‘em. 

NBA Pick: Take the Pelicans PK at JustBet