Free NBA Picks: Pelicans at Warriors Odds
by Alan Matthews - 12/16/2013
In some ways, it feels almost easy to be an armchair general manager in the NBA. Just pick five guys who can score and throw them out there. Alas, nothing's that easy. That brings me to the New Orleans Pelicans. They have five pretty big-name guys they can roll out there: Anthony Davis, Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday. I'd want any of them on my team. However, just getting guys who can fill up the bucket doesn't win games. Things like defense, rebounding an intangibles matter. And, of course, there's the injury factor. That has hurt New Orleans as much as any team, largely because of Davis.
The question perhaps has to be asked, though, if he's injury-prone. The consensus National Player of the Year as a freshman at Kentucky played 64 games as a rookie No. 1 overall pick because of injury and has been limited to 16 so far this season for the same reason. It's a shame, too, because by some metrics he was the most valuable player in the NBA outside of LeBron James. For example, in ESPN's player rating system (sort of like WAR in MLB), Davis is fourth behind James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul. The beanpole was averaging 18.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.6 blocks when he went down with a broken hand on Dec. 1. He won't be back for at least a few weeks. The Pelicans are 3-3 without him.
Also hurt is Evans, the former Rookie of the Year whom the Kings are looking smart for not signing to a long-term deal and shipping him out. He missed Sunday's loss in Denver with a sprained ankle, his third sprained left ankle in the past two months. He's almost surely out for Tuesday's game against the Warriors. If New Orleans had to do it all over again, it wouldn't have given Evans, a restricted free agent, a four-year, $44 million deal. Evans is averaging only 11.6 points and shooting a terrible .414 from the field. The Pelicans really didn't need Evans with their backcourt of Holiday (another offseason acquisition) and Gordon, so he's rather like a square peg in a round hole. There's talk the team would like to trade Gordon, who never wanted to be there in the first place but had an offer sheet he signed with Phoenix matched before last season. He has also been injury-prone.
Pelicans at Warriors Betting Story Lines
There has been one positive about Davis' injury: It has really spiked the production of Anderson, and his trade value will never be higher. He is averaging 21.8 points per game, but the Pelicans may deal him because they need a big body to help protect the thin Davis, who is better playing power forward than center. Anderson rarely comes inside the three-point line when New Orleans has the ball. There's been some talk of an Anderson-for-Omer Asik deal with Houston, but apparently the Pelicans want more than Asik back, so it won't happen. Anderson would be a perfect fit on that team.
Golden State has been a disappointment so far, but I also think some were overvaluing this team off last year's playoff run. The Warriors fell in Phoenix 106-102 on Sunday, their third loss in the past four. You know they are going to score with the terrific backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but they still struggle to stop teams at times. Golden State hasn't been immune to the injury bug itself. Andre Iguodala, the big offseason addition and a stellar defensive player, hasn't played since Nov. 22 with a hamstring injury. The club is 5-7 without him. The Warriors allowed 96.07 points per game before Iguodala's injury and have given up around 104 points per game since. He might return this week, but it won't be Tuesday. The Warriors also are without big man Jermaine O'Neal due to a wrist injury. He had surgery, and it might mean the end of his career at age 36. Without those two, the Golden State bench is pretty bad as they are playing guys such as Marreese Speights, Draymond Green, Toney Douglas, Kent Bazemore and Hilton Armstrong. Not exactly a scary group. The Golden State bench totaled 18 points in the loss to the Suns.
Pelicans at Warriors NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, Golden State is a seven-point favorite with a total of 209.5. New Orleans is 9-12-1 ATS (4-6 on road) and 14-8 “over/under” (7-3 on road). Golden State is 10-13-2 ATS (3-6-1 at home) and 11-4 O/U (6-4 at home). The Pelicans have covered just one of their past seven Tuesday games. They have covered only one of their past 10 against the Western Conference. Golden State is 5-1-1 in its past seven Tuesday games. The Warriors are 1-6 ATS in their past seven at home. The over is 8-1 in New Orleans' past nine on Tuesday. The over is 10-3 in the Warriors' past 13 on Tuesday. The underdog has covered five of the past eight meetings. The under is 4-1 in the past five.
Pelicans at Warriors Betting Prediction
This is the second of three regular-season meetings and the Pelicans' only visit to Oakland. Golden State won at New Orleans 102-101 on Nov. 26. O'Neal had his game of the season with 18 points and eight rebounds. Thompson led the Warriors with 22. Golden State played without not just the injured Iguodala but also center Andrew Bogut, who was suspended. Gordon, the former Pelican (well, Hornet) had a chance to win it for New Orleans with an open three-pointer from the left corner in the final seconds, but it rimmed out. Anderson had 21 points and 12 boards for New Orleans.
No way the Warriors can lose on Mark Jackson bobblehead night, right? At home, the Warriors average eight more points per 100 possessions than away and shoot nearly five percent better. It's all about getting used to the background. Golden State is the pick, along with the over.
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