The New Orleans Pelicans host the Los Angeles Clippers in what is going to be a heavily watched game as it is Paul George’s Clipper debut.
The New Orleans Pelicans already knew that they had a big challenge at hand on Thursday with the Los Angeles Clippers coming to town. To make matters worse, they are the first team that has to deal with both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, as George is making his Clipper debut on Thursday.
This is assuming that Kawhi Leonard does not take the game off, which as of the time writing this, has neither been confirmed nor denied. Leonard sat out one-half of both of the Clippers’ previous back-to-backs, so it would not be all that surprising to see him sit out this game as well.
Regardless of if Leonard plays or not, George is suiting up and the Pelicans are going to have a tough game. Brandon Ingram is still day-to-day with a knee injury, Jahlil Okafor is questionable with an ankle strain, Josh Hart has been ruled out and Lonzo Ball might not play, either.
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This is looking to be a disaster for the Pelicans, especially if all four of those players do not play. Leonard or not Leonard, the team already had a tough challenge that is even tougher with their own injuries.
Somehow, someway, the betting odds do not reflect the uphill battle that the Pelicans are going to be facing in this game. According to the Action Network, the Clippers are only 4.5-point favorites over the New Orleans Pelicans.
There are multiple reasons why the line is as low as it is. The risk of Leonard not playing, the team being on the road and the fact that it is the second game of a back-to-back all affect the lines.
However, on the surface, the Clippers are a better team and en even better team with the Pelicans banged up. It is pretty clear to see what our prediction is going to be.
Against the spread prediction (Record: 3-5-1): Los Angeles Clippers -4.5
We took the push last game against the Houston Rockets as the Pelicans only lost by six and this game presents an easy victory as the Pelicans are going to get routed in this game.
The Pelicans are one of the worst defensive teams in the league that seriously lack size, especially if Okafor is out of the game as well.
Scoring-wise, there is not much to get excited about past Brandon Ingram. Sure, Jrue Holiday has big-game potential, but he has not been good enough this season to expect that out of him.
Plus, the Pelicans are coming up against one of the best defensive teams in the league that just got better with the addition of George. The Clippers should be able to score in bunches, especially after a disappointing loss on Wednesday, and the Pelicans will struggle to crack this defense.
I don’t think that the New Orleans Pelicans just lose by 4.5 points, I think this is in blowout territory. The line would have to be Clippers -14.5 for me to swing the other way.