The New Orleans Pelicans have been one of the league’s most inconsistent teams this season. Their longest winning streak of the season is three games but they have five separate two-game winning streaks. The only problem is that they also have five separate losing streaks of two games or more. They’ve lost five of seven entering Monday’s affair with Portland and they’ll need a valiant effort to upend the Trail Blazers. Keep in mind that their third-leading scorer, Eric Gordon, is questionable for this contest.
The Portland Trail Blazers Can Win Because…
The Pelicans just don’t play well against teams above .500. Sure, they can beat Denver and Sacramento at home, but look at some of their losses: at Houston, at Portland, at Los Angeles (Clippers), at Golden State, home to Oklahoma City, home to Dallas, home to Golden State and home to San Antonio. Time and time again this season, the Pelicans have shown that they are just good enough to top the weaker teams but aren’t strong enough to go toe-to-toe with the best in the business.
The Blazers are coming off a stinging loss to the LeBron James-less Miami Heat on Saturday night. They’ll be fired up to wipe that loss out of their memory with a better effort on Monday.
Portland only has six losses on the year (24-6) and are 12-3 on the road this season. New Orleans is just 8-5 at home. They are not on the same level as the Blazers and they’ll have a tough time keeping up – particularly with the Blazers league-leading offense.
The New Orleans Pelicans Can Win Because…
They’ve been covering spreads recently. That’s a good start. The Pelicans are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games, which (partially) means they are getting closer to winning games. That includes their loss a 110-107 loss in Portland on December 21st. If they can play with the Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden, they can definitely beat them at home.
The Pelicans offense is cooking these days as they’ve averaged 105.8 over their last four games. They are not a particularly good defense team (allowing 102.3 points per game), so their success or failure is mostly based on their offense. When they’re working fluidly, the Pelicans are a good choice for your NBA picks. When they’re not, they are a team to avoid. They’re playing well at the offensive end right now, so that’s why there’s a good chance for them to keep this close.
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Outlook & Pick
The NBA odds have been adjusted to the Blazers. Nobody believes that this stellar start is just an aberration of any sort. As a result, the Blazers spreads have started to cost a lot more. That’s part of why they’ve failed to cover the spread six straight times.
Even so, the Pelicans do not play well against elite teams. Since we’re facing a relatively low line, I’ll add the Blazers to my sports picks here and will lay the 3.5.
NBA Pick: Blazers -3.5 at Bookmaker