Pelicans vs. Kings: The 3rd Quarter Bet to Make

Action Network contributor Andrew O'Connor-Watts previews how to bet Pelicans vs. Kings, including updated odds, picks & predictions for Monday's game.

Pelicans vs. Kings Odds

Pelicans Odds +5.5
Kings Odds -5.5
Over/Under 237
Time 10 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The New Orleans Pelicans face the Sacramento Kings on Monday night in a rematch from Feb. 5 in which the Pelicans cruised to a 136-104 blowout win.

The Kings have been a pleasant surprise this season. At 37-26, Sacramento has already exceeded its preseason win total of 33.5 — the first team to do so this season.

The Pelicans season has been marred by injuries to key players like Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson. Ingram has played consistently since returning to action on Jan. 25, but Williamson’s absence sent the Pelicans .500 ATS record from before his injury into a spiral. New Orleans is 8-20 straight up and 10-17-1 ATS since Williamson went down.

Let’s breakdown the odds and I’ll make a prediction and a pick for Pelicans vs. Kings.

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New Orleans Pelicans

Despite some roster adversity, the Pelicans have maintained a top-10 defense. According to Dunks and Threes, the Pelicans rank eighth in Adjusted Defensive Rating — that’s despite their starting center being a defensive liability.

Jonas Valanciunas is known for his offense over his defense, but his defense has been particularly bad this season. He ranks in the second percentile among players at his position in Defensive Estimated Plus-Minus (-2.9), which further shows he’s a well-below-average defender.

The Pelicans overall defense has been good, but that all changes in the third quarter, where their defensive efficiency ranks fifth worst in the league (118.4), according to NBA Advanced Stats — and that number gets worse on the road (124). The Pelicans generally start the second half with a combination of Valanciunas, CJ McCollum and Herb Jones and lineups with those three sharing the court have a 117.9 Defensive Rating.

Sacramento Kings

With the best offensive efficiency (118.9) and the fifth-worst defensive efficiency (117.2), the Kings play style is highly reliant on outscoring opponents — and they’ve done so effectively. They are third in the West and lead the Pacific division by three games over the Suns in the loss column.

The Kings do a lot of scoring in the third quarter after Mike Brown and staff can adjust to the opponent’s defense. The Kings score the fourth-most points per game in the third quarter (30.1), thanks to their personnel to start second halves.

Lineups with Domantas Sabonis, Kevin Huerter and Harrison Barnes have played the most minutes together in the third and also have the highest Offensive Rating (118.9) of any lineup with a significant sample size. However, those lineups struggle mightily to stop opposing offenses and have a lowly 122.3 Defensive Rating.

Pelicans-Kings Pick

I like the Kings to take care of business, but I make this number -6 — right around the current spread. Sacramento also has the revenge factor from last month’s blowout loss.

Instead I’ll play to both teams’ strengths and take a third quarter over.

The Kings are 20-11-1 to the over at home (20% ROI) and 6-3-1 in their past 10 home games. The Pelicans are just 4-5-1 to the over in their past 10 road games, but have the third-best road over record in the third this season (21-11-1). I don’t trust the full-game over because the Pelicans have struggled to score lately, but even in games that have gone under, the third quarter over has hit.

Take the third quarter over to 61.5 as I expect plenty of scoring out of halftime.

Pick: Over 60.5 in Third Quarter — Play to 61.5