Spurs vs. Pelicans Preview: Target the Total in Wednesday's Play-In Game

Action Network contributor, Tyler Schmidt, previews how to bet Wednesday's NBA Play-In game between the Spurs and Pelicans.

Spurs vs. Pelicans Odds

Spurs Odds +5.5
Pelicans Odds -5.5
Over/Under 226
Time 9:30 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

After a very exciting first night of the play-in tournament, we have the New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs battling in a win or go home game. The winner of this game will play on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers for a chance to get the No. 8 Seed and play the Phoenix Suns.

Both teams come into this game very healthy, so this should be a great game! The Pelicans are 5.5-point home favorites despite losing both of their home games against the Spurs this season. Can the Spurs make it three in a row?

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How Will the Young Spurs Adapt?

The Spurs had a disappointing finish losing their last three regular season games, but they did get Dejounte Murray back from an illness in their last game. Murray had missed five-straight games, but is good to go tonight.

Getting Murray back gives the Spurs a chance. He has exploded onto the scene in his fifth season in the league. Murray is averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, assists and minutes. He is nearly averaging a triple-double and ranks second behind Nikola Jokic in triple-doubles this season with 13.

Murray is also a fantastic two-way point guard who plays incredible defense and will likely be assigned to CJ McCollum in this matchup. Murray leads the league averaging two steals per game, while also ranking fourth in assists.

Doug McDermott is the only player who won’t be available for the Spurs tonight. Outside of Murray, this Spurs team is very balanced. They have six current players who are averaging double-digit points, with Keldon Johnson leading the way with 17 points per game. With DeMar DeRozan gone, many of these young Spurs wing players have gotten extending playing time and have produced.

This may be Gregg Popovich’s last postseason game if we truly think about it. Despite having such a young team, the Spurs’ run to the play-in is quite impressive. They are still 14 games under .500, but with arguably the greatest coach in NBA history on the sidelines, the Spurs will be well prepared and come to play.

The Spurs won both games against the Pelicans on the road as they both went under the game total. The Spurs rank sixth in pace this season, but we all know how the playoffs go. The game is slowed down and played in the half court. Both games last night went under the total. The playoffs are a different beast.

New-Look Pelicans are Rolling

The Pelicans lost their last two regular season games, but that didn’t mean too much in terms of seeding. They had won eight of their previous 11 games to put themselves in position to lock up a home play-in game.

Since the McCollum trade, the Pelicans have been a completely different team. McCollum is averaging a career-high 24.3 points per game while shooting 49.3% from the field. He is also averaging career-highs in both rebounds and assists.

Brandon Ingram has been in and out of the Pelicans lineup for awhile now. He missed 10-straight games in March and has missed the last three games to end the regular season. Ingram and McCollum have played together in 15 of a possible 26 games. This dynamic duo has won nine of those 15 games.

Outside of Ingram and McCollum, holding down the interior has been Jonas Valanciunas who is averaging a double-double for the fourth-straight season. The veteran center has been a great addition to the Pelicans in his first season. He is averaging a career-high 30.3 minutes per game, increasing his ceiling.

The Pelicans also have simply more depth than the Spurs do at this point. Devonte’ Graham is perfect in a bench role where he can take up most of the usage on the second team. Herbert Jones has been incredible defensively averaging 1.7 steals per game, which is by far the most as a rookie this season.

The average points per game scored in Pelicans home games this season has been 221.4 points, which is well below this current total. Seven of the last eight games between the Pelicans and Spurs have also gone under the total. That is impossible to ignore, especially when you factor in that this is an elimination game.

Spurs-Pelicans Pick

The total on this Spurs and Pelicans game opened at 229 and is moving down quickly. Right now it is sitting at 226 at most books — some even have it at 225. Jump on this as quick as you can before it moves even lower. Don’t get too greedy, but I would take it down to 224.5.

The Spurs also have some favorable trends working in their favor tonight. They have covered the spread in seven-straight games and have won four-straight games against the Pelicans as an underdog. They may be worth a look on the money line at +185.

One last option to share is Dejounte Murray to record a triple-double is +400. Murray recorded a triple-double in two of their four games this season. He will need to be heavily involved if the Spurs have any chance to pull off the upset.

Pick: Under 226 Points (-110)