New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans enter this one off a back-to-back against Houston yesterday. They are absolutely decimated at the moment, currently without Davis, Mirotic, Randle, Moore, and Payton. Jrue Holiday is putting up a very respectable 21 points, 8 assists, and 5 boards on the season, whilst Jahlil Okafor has started to show the same flashes that he did as a rookie.
The Nuggets make the trip to New Orleans at 34-15 off the back of a crazy comeback win over Memphis last time out. Nikola Jokic again led the way in this one, putting up a very solid outing of 24 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals. Will Barton added 20 points and 5 boards in a rare start, whilst Malik Beasley had 18 off the bench.
Prediction: 1st Half Under 115.5
With Jamal Murray still out for Denver and half of the New Orleans rotation still injured, I very much like the under here. Especially with the Pelicans on a back-to-back, I expect a slower paced one with some tired legs. At 115.5 for the first half, I heavily lean to the under.
The Kings enter this one at 25-25 after a heavy loss to the Clippers last time out. Point Guard De’Aaron Fox is still having a breakthrough campaign, averaging 17.6 points and 7.2 rebounds on the season. Buddy Hield is averaging an impressive 20 points and 5 boards, whilst Willie Cauley-Stein is putting up 13 and 9 on the interior.
The Hawks make the trip to Sacramento at 16-33 after road wins in 2 of their past 3 games. Trae Young was excellent against the Clippers last time out, pouring in 26 points and 8 assists. John Collins had 22 points and 6 rebounds, whilst Alex Len and Jeremy Lin combined for an impressive 32 points off the bench.
Prediction: Kings -5.5
The Kings have been covering machines at home this season and I expect that to continue here as they finally return from a long road trip. I think their strong guard play can effectively penetrate this Atlanta defence, whilst Cauley Stein and Bagley do enough on the interior. Laying 5.5, the Kings are the better and more motivated team.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers enter this one at a solid 31-20, buoyed by their particularly strong 21-7 home record. C.J McCollum led the way in a win over Atlanta last time out, registering a 28-point triple-double. Seth Curry also did an admirable job filling in for the injured Damian Lillard, dropping 22 points and 4 made three-pointers.
The Jazz make the trip to Portland at 29-22 after wins in 9 of their last 10 games. Donovan Mitchell has been particularly strong of late, averaging 29.6 points, 6.2 assists, and 5.2 rebounds. Rudy Gobert has also continued his very solid form, averaging 15 points, 13 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game.
Prediction: Jazz +1
This is primarily a revenge play, with Utah’s only loss in their last 10 coming at home to Portland. They defeated the Blazers in two previous matchups this season and tend to match up very well with them. I think the wrong team is favoured here and can see Utah continuing their excellent form with a road win.