Lakers vs. Pelicans: Will L.A. Extend New Orleans' Losing Skid?

Action Network contributor Joe Dellera previews how to bet Lakers vs. Pelicans, including updated odds, picks & predictions for Saturday's game.

Lakers vs. Pelicans Odds

Lakers Odds -1
Pelicans Odds +1
Over/Under 235
Time 6 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Los Angeles Lakers head on the road to take on the New Orleans Pelicans. While the Pelicans started the season off hot, they have struggled since Zion Williamson went down with an injury and have now lost 10 games in a row and sit outside of the playoff picture just one game ahead of the Lakers. Over that same 10-game stretch the Lakers are 6-4 and starting to gain momentum by the day.

Let’s break down the matchup between these two playoff hopefuls and see where we can find value in the Lakers vs Pelicans odds.

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Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers were thrilled to welcome back Anthony Davis after he missed over a month with his foot injury. He’s listed as probable for this matchup and LeBron James (ankle) is questionable (per usual).

I’d expect James to play tonight in a nationally televised game as he is 63 points away from breaking the all-time scoring record. If he sits a game, I think it would be against the Oklahoma Thunder so he can set the record against the Milwaukee Bucks (one of Kareem’s old teams) at home or against Stephen Curry and the Warriors.

This matchup also sets up well for James. The Pelicans have struggled to defend shots at the rim this season, allowing opponents to shoot a league-worst 71.8% at the rim. James is constantly attacking the rim and getting into the paint, taking 42% of his shots at the rim, and making 76% of them. I like his points prop at 27.5 as he tries to set himself up to break the all-time scoring record at his own pace.

The Lakers have been significantly better with Davis and James on the floor of late and the addition of Rui Hachimura has been successful as well. In 117 possessions with those three on the floor the Lakers have a +5.3 point differential while only allowing opponents to score 106.7 points per 100 possessions, which would be in the 97th percentile of all lineups, per Cleaning the Glass.

New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans are down bad. During this 10-game losing streak they have the second-worst Point Differential in the league, -11.1, which is second only to the Spurs.

They have been unable to score, putting up just 106.2 points per 100 possessions and they’ve allowed opponents to score 117.3 points as well, per Cleaning the Glass.  They will once again be without Zion Williamson for this contest as he recovers from his hamstring strain and Dyson Daniels (ankle) will also miss.

Do the Pelicans have enough firepower?

The Pelicans have played 241 possessions with Ingram, McCollum, and Valanciunas on the floor without Zion Williamson. Those are quite literally some of the worst possessions in the entire league this season. The Pelicans have a -25.7 point differential with those lineups. They cannot score and they are a sieve defensively.

This is true for both their halfcourt defense and their transition defense. The transition numbers will be a concern today against a Lakers team that loves to push the pace.

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Lakers-Pelicans Pick

This matchup would be awesome if these teams were both at full strength; however, that simply is not the case. The Pelicans are in the midst of one of the roughest stretches of any team this season and the Lakers with LeBron and Anthony Davis is not a landing spot.

While the Lakers have struggled throughout this season, part of it was due to injury and now they are the team with surprisingly good health in a position to make a playoff run.

The Lakers’ edge on offense, especially in transition, should catapult them to a victory tonight.

Pick: Lakers -1