Thunder vs Pelicans: Bet OKC to Stay Hot on the Road

Action Network contributor Kenny Ducey previews how to bet Thunder vs. Pelicans, including updated odds, picks and predictions for Friday's game.

Thunder vs. Pelicans Odds

Thunder Odds +1
Pelicans Odds -1
Moneyline -104 / -112
Over/Under 239.5
Time Friday, 8 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here’s everything you need to know about Thunder vs. Pelicans on Friday, Jan. 26 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have had their fair share of struggles away from home this season, but they enter Friday’s game in New Orleans on a three-game road winning streak.

Will their winning ways continue against a Pelicans team which has lost a bit of its edge on defense in recent games?

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

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Thunder vs. Pelicans Prediction

Pick: Thunder ML (-105)

Thunder Betting Outlook

It’s hard to say the Thunder are an inherently bad team on the road with their 14-8 record in these games, but with three of those wins coming in success over the past week and a half, they’ve certainly done well to repair their reputation.

Oklahoma City has set a high bar for itself with a 67.4% cover rate in all games, so its straight-up record as well as its 13-8-1 mark against the spread on the road pale in comparison to what this team’s been able to do at home.

The Thunder have actually been dynamite from 3 away from OKC, shooting nearly four points better from outside, though their efficiency numbers on both offense and defense have taken a significant enough hit to the point where this team is only winning by six points per 100 possessions on the road compared to 10.6 per 100 possessions at home.

There’s certainly plenty of reason to believe this team can perform on the road, and with an average offensive efficiency rating north of 120 points per 100 possessions over their last three road games, we’re certainly seeing how that can be true.

The matchup here is certainly going to be a difficult one against a Pelicans team which has been exceptional at defending the perimeter, but things have really slowed down for the home team here.

Pelicans Betting Outlook

New Orleans has owned one of the best defenses in the NBA over the course of the season, but the Pelicans have slipped to the middle of the league over the last 10 games — a dip headlined by worsening 3-point numbers.

That’s certainly a complicating factor here when you consider at no point in the season have the Pelicans even been close to an average team defensively at the rim, and that is where Oklahoma City can do a lot of damage.

Offensively, I think this game will ultimately come down to who can shoot better from outside. The Pelicans have been absolutely lethal from downtown, ranking fifth in outside scoring, according to Cleaning the Glass, and over the last 10 games we’ve seen this team continue to get even better with a scorching 43.3% 3-point percentage.

The Thunder have been the 11th-best team in the league at defending the 3, and in those aforementioned last 10 games they’ve grown even stronger, allowing opponents to shoot just 36.2% from downtown. That’ll be a crucial battle given the Pelicans’ frontcourt should be neutralized by the best rim defense in the NBA, making it hard on this offense to compensate for its slumping defense.

Thunder vs. Pelicans Picks, Odds

The Thunder have now covered in their last three road games, and with their white-hot shooting numbers in away games I think there’s plenty of reason they can keep up their solid play in these types of games.

While the Pelicans do shoot the 3 better than most teams, the Thunder have been a solid team around the perimeter — and one that’s only grown stronger over the last couple of weeks — which should work wonders considering their league-leading 60.7% opponent field goal percentage at the rim.

New Orleans has forced the issue inside this season despite its success from 3, and without much of a way to score in this matchup, the scales should be firmly tilted in the Thunder’s favor. This defense has not been quite as sharp of late, and without a clear path to an offensive outburst I’m not sure this team will be able to keep up with the Thunder.

Keep in mind, too, that while the Pelicans have been equally generous to bettors with a 58.1% cover rate in all games, they are just 9-7 ATS as home favorites.

Pick: Thunder ML (-105)