Pelicans vs. Nuggets Odds & Picks: New Orleans Won't Bow Down

Jan 28, 2022
Pelicans vs. Nuggets Odds & Picks: New Orleans Won't Bow Down

The beautiful state of Louisiana gives us so many great things. Gumbo, jambalaya, jazz music and now sports betting!

Six sportsbooks in Louisiana have officially launched this morning with DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, BetRivers, Barstool and BetMGM all taking online wagers in the Bayou State as of 8 AM CST today. To celebrate legalized sports betting in Louisiana, it is our duty to take a deep dive on tonight's NBA matchup between the New Orleans Pelicans and Denver Nuggets.

The Pelicans are currently on the outside looking in at the Western Conference playoffs, trailing the 10th-place Portland Trail Blazers by 1.5 games. New Orleans was getting hot, winning four of five games before losing 117-107 to Philadelphia on Tuesday. The Pelicans hope to have several of their players return to action, after battling Philadelphia without starters Brandon Ingram, Devonte' Graham, Jonas Valanciunas and Josh Hart. Those four leading scorers for New Orleans account for 68.2 points per game.

Denver enters on a hot streak, having won seven of their past 10 games. Their current three-game winning streak has pushed them to second place in the Northwest Conference, just three games behind the Utah Jazz. They are led by reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, who is currently averaging a triple-double at 26.2 points, 11 rebounds, and 13.8 assists per game.

Will the Nuggets keep rolling behind Jokic's dominance, or will the Pelicans get healthy and earn a quality home win? Let's take a close look at where bettors should trust their money tonight in one of the closer projected games on tonight's 11-game NBA slate.

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Nuggets vs. Pelicans Betting Odds

Nuggets Pelicans
Spread -6 +6
Moneyline -235 +205
Over/Under 215 (-110)

*Lines accurate at time of publication.

Nuggets vs. Pelicans Best Bets

Pelicans +6 vs. Nuggets (-110, DK)

When New Orleans is healthy, they are a dangerous team. The Pelicans battled the Nuggets to overtime at home on December 8th, losing a close 120-114 decision. New Orleans' five starters each reached double-figures in that game, while shooting 11-of-30 (36.7%) from beyond the arc. The health of the Pelicans starters is the key to this matchup.

Currently, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart are listed as questionable, with guard Devonte' Graham and center Jonas Valanciunas expected to start. If the Pelicans are fully healthy, they should be situated perfectly to cover this number, or even win outright. New Orleans will need to score points to stay competitive, as their defense ranks 10th-worst in the league over the past two weeks. Fortunately, the Nuggets rank eighth-worst during that same time period, allowing the most points per game (119.7) over their seven contests.

The Nets have also struggled on the defensive end the past two weeks, ranking fifth-worst among all NBA teams. The Nuggets have allowed 118 points or more in four of their past five games.

New Orleans has experienced a frustrating season, expecting to be a legitimate playoff contender after just missing the final playoff spot last season. However, the loss of All-Start Zion Williamson, combined with losing multiple players to injuries and COVID-19 protocols has challenged first-year head coach Willie Green. New Orleans started the season with a 1-12 record but is making a late-season playoff push.

Both teams enter this battle well-rested, placing an even bigger emphasis on the health of the Pelicans. Assuming Valanciunas, Graham and Hart all play, I'm grabbing the Pelicans +6. If Ingram somehow plays, that number will drop quickly. New Orleans has been one of the NBA's best home teams at 13-8-1, and Denver has struggled against the spread on the road, carrying just a 10-15 road record ATS.

This line opened at Denver -5.5 and has held steady at Denver -6. I recommend taking it now in a game that New Orleans can cover with or without Ingram, but have an excellent chance to win outright if Ingram starts.

Risk: 1.10 units on DraftKings to win 1 unit. (Bet up to -120)

Nuggets vs. Pelicans Game Total Over 215 Points (-110, DK)

Denver is carrying the second-best offensive rating the past two weeks, and averaging 117 points per game (third-best) in their past three contests. New Orleans has struggled to limit opposing centers all season, allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to the position. The Nuggets are going to score tonight, but so will the Pelicans.

Despite playing most of the season without explosive forward Michael Porter Jr. (back surgery), Denver has received major offensive contributions from Will Barton (15.4 PPG), Aaron Gordon (14.4 PPG) and Monte Morris (12.5 PPG). Each player has seen big performances off Jokic's fantastic all-around game.

The Nuggets (26-21) have the third-best record to the over this season, and New Orleans has not shown great resistance to opposing offenses at the Smoothie King Center (11-11 on home game totals). Assuming three New Orleans starters return (Ingram is the most questionable), I will back the over between two solid offensive teams. However, if two of their starters are ruled out (i.e. Ingram and Hart), this pick switches to an under, as New Orleans will need to play slower to limit Denver's scoring.

Risk: 1.10 units on DraftKings to win 1 unit. (Bet up to -120)

Louisiana Sportsbook Offers

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BetRivers: Up To $250 Bonus Match

DraftKings: Bet $5, Win $280 in Free Bets if Any Team Wins in the NFL Playoffs

FanDuel: Bet $5, Win $150 Cash if Any Team Wins in the NFL Playoffs

For the most up-to-date picks check out my Twitter and subscribe to our Discord. This sheet from Dan Rivera tracks all my betting picks (and those from the rest of the betting staff) on the year. Just click on the tab with my name on it for the results.

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