Pelicans vs Lakers: New Orleans Has Value in Semifinal Matchup

Action Network contributor Chris Baker gives his NBA In-Season Tournament semifinal pick for Pelicans vs. Lakers.

Pelicans vs. Lakers Prediction, Picks

Pelicans Odds +2
Lakers Odds -2
Moneyline +108 / -126
Over/Under 231
Time Thursday, 9 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here’s everything you need to know about Pelicans vs. Lakers on Thursday, Dec. 7 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.

The Pelicans will take on the Lakers in Vegas for the Western Conference in-season tournament final. Can the Pelicans dominate this veteran Lakers squad? Or will the Lakers continue their run?

Let’s get to our Pelicans vs. Lakers prediction and pick.

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Pelicans vs. Lakers Prediction

Pick: Pelicans ML (+110)

Pelicans Betting Outlook

The Pelicans have looked genuinely elite when healthy and the key difference maker has been Trey Murphy. The Pelicans have an elite net-rating of +31.7 with Murphy on the floor across 101 possessions.

This is certainly a small sample size but I think Murphy is exactly what this team needs as he is an elite shooter who does not need many dribbles to score efficiently. He’s exactly the type of player who fits next to methodical high usage guys like CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram, and Zion Williamson.

This Pelicans team is arguably the deepest team in the NBA and it is frightening how many different guys that can turn to for a spark each night.

Lakers Betting Outlook

The Lakers have been surprisingly solid this year ranking 13-9 but only 22nd in net-rating. They’ve played the 11th easiest schedule and have lost the vast majority of their games against better teams.

Outside of their win over Cleveland, the Lakers do not have a single win against teams that rank inside of the top-10 in adjusted net-rating. They are being carried by a 39-year old LeBron James and I’m not sure how sustainable that is over the course of an 82-game season.

I was honestly surprised to see them open as a favorite on a neutral over this New Orleans team as these teams have virtually identical net-ratings and when you adjust for schedule strength the Pelicans actually rank a full +1.1 above the Lakers according to Keep in mind that this doesn’t really account for the poor injury luck the Pelicans have had.

Pelicans vs. Lakers Picks, Odds

I like the Pelicans a lot in this spot and I feel they deserve to be favored. We already talked about schedule strength but the Pelicans are in a unique spot where many of their most valuable players (Trey Murphy, Jose Alvarado, and CJ McCollum) were out for multiple weeks this year.

The Pelicans’ season-long data is heavily weighed down by sample sizes which include minutes from guys like Jordan Hawkins, Matt Ryan, and Cody Zeller. This team is finally mostly healthy and they are just flat out more talented than the Lakers and deserve to be favored here on a neutral court.

I will grab the Pelicans at +110 and will play this down to +100.

Pick: Pelicans ML (+110)