Suns vs. Pelicans Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Before this series started, I don’t think many people had this getting past five games, especially with how well the Phoenix Suns have played this season.
However, with their best player getting injured during the series, anything can happen now.
This could easily go seven games if the New Orleans Pelicans can hold serve on Thursday. The Pelicans are not intimidated one bit by this Suns team.
The Suns and Pelicans have zig-zagged in every game, with the Suns winning Game 1. Does Phoenix have enough to win on the road to not only stop the trend, but also finish this series?
In the most recent game in New Orleans, the Pelicans made it look easy without Booker in the lineup, winning by 15 points.
The Suns were the favorites to not only come out of the Western Conference, but to win the NBA Finals.
They need to worry about the Pelicans first. Let’s break down how to bet this game.
Suns’ Talent Isn’t Issue Without Booker
After an NBA Finals appearance last season, the Phoenix Suns find themselves in a battle with the No. 8 seed New Orleans Pelicans.
The major injury news is Devin Booker. He was injured in Game 3 and will not be coming back for this series — at the bare minimum.
Without Booker in the lineup, the Suns have been starting Cameron Johnson in his place. Johnson’s playing time has increased — along with his peripherals — but his scoring is the same.
Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton have stepped up huge in the absence of Booker.
We’ll start with the 17-year veteran. Paul had one of his worst-career playoff outings in Game 4, but rebounded nicely in Game 5, with 22 points and 11 assists. Paul has averaged a remarkable double-double (20.2 points and 12 assists per game in this series) despite only scoring four points in Game 4.
Ayton is also averaging a double-double (20.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game) while shooting 67.7% from the field.
Jonas Valanciunas is a tough defender, but Ayton is getting the job done in a variety of ways. He has become a master in the mid-range and is always available for the Paul alley-oop. He hasn’t been at the free throw line very much, but is still a big interior presence.
Lastly, Mikal Bridges is coming off of arguably his best game of his career in Game 5. He played all but one minute and finished with 31 points on 12-of-17 from the field. He made every 3-pointer he attempted and had four blocks.
His durability is amazing, as Bridges was one of five players who played all 82 games.
The Suns led the league with a 32-9 record on the road. However, they are a different team without their leading scorer. The Suns’ offensive rating drops from 116.8 to 109.7 in the 17 games that Booker has missed this season.
Can their pure talent get them the road win to end this series on Thursday?
Pels Evolving Into Great Story
The New Orleans Pelicans are using the momentum they gained from the play-in tournament to catapult them into a very competitive series with the best team in the league. They have a chance to force an all-or-nothing Game 7, which would do wonders for the future of the Pelicans’ franchise.
Getting CJ McCollum in early February right before the trade deadline has been one of the most productive moves during the season. He has emerged as a great Robin to Brandon Ingram. McCollum is averaging a career-high in points, rebounds, assists and field goal percentage since joining the team.
His play has helped Ingram, who is showcasing his talents in his first-ever playoff series. Ingram has led the Pelicans in scoring in the past four games, averaging 30.8 points per game while shooting 51.2% from the field.
Valanciunas rounds out the “Big Three” for the Pelicans, as he has held the team together by collecting huge rebounds to end the Suns’ possessions. Valanciunas is averaging a double-double with 15.4 points and 15.6 rebounds per game in this series. He leads the entire playoffs in rebounds per game.
One of the coolest and biggest stories of this Pelicans team has to be their rookies. Herbert Jones, Trey Murphy III and Jose Alvarado have played key roles for the Pelicans.
Jones is one of the best defensive rookies in this class. Murphy III is a sharp-shooting guard and Alvarado is causing CP3 fits with his never-ending energy.
This Pelicans team is confident and does not fear the Suns one bit. Their home crowd will be rocking, which should give them the extra motivation when times get tough. Seeing the Pelicans as only slight home underdogs goes to show how far this team has come already.
Can they extend the series to seven games?
Seeing that we are five games into the series, the books are getting much smarter with their lines.
It all comes down to execution now.
Both of the teams have exploited the mismatches that they wanted and are playing some of their best basketball all season, especially on the Pelicans’ side of the ball.
I am banking on the zig-zag trend to continue and for the Pelicans to extend this series to seven games.
They have the talent, have no fear and have two players on their team who can create their own shot at any given moment.
The Pelicans are two-point home underdogs, but I like them on the money line.
The line has some juice and this feels like the right play in this game.
Pick: New Orleans Pelicans ML (+115)