These divisional opponents didn't have an easy road to the postseason. The Spurs barely edged out the Los Angeles Lakers for the last spot in the playoffs, largely because a stretch of games where San Antonio won seven of eight contests as the end of the season approached. Now they'll face a familiar foe in the Pelicans. These teams have already played each other four times this season, and now they'll battle in a must-win contest. This should be an incredibly entertaining game, so let's cut to the chase and get into the pick.
Here are the Spurs-Pelicans NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
NBA Odds: Spurs-Pelicans Odds
San Antonio Spurs: +5.5 (-110)
New Orleans Pelicans: -5.5 (-110)
Over: 227 (-110)
Under: 227 (-110)
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Why The Spurs Could Cover The Spread
San Antonio took three of the four previous matchups between these teams, including both games that were played in New Orleans. It's hard to see why they enter this game as 5.5-point underdogs when they've shown the ability to not only cover against the Pelicans, but to straight up win against them. Now, all they have to do is lose by under six points in an arena in which they haven't lost in this entire season.
There's reason to believe that the Spurs' offense will perform well here. San Antonio averaged 113 points per game while scoring a whopping 53 points in the paint per game. They also shot 92 shots per game, the second-highest number in the league. It also helps that the Spurs have a track record of offensive success against New Orleans. In one win against the Pelicans, San Antonio dropped 121 points. In another, they scored 112. This is clearly a decent matchup for this Spurs offense, with Dejounte Murray playing as the catalyst.
Why The Pelicans Could Cover The Spread
The Pelicans should also have their fair share of success on offense here with Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum leading the way. Their numbers aren't great, but New Orleans ended the season on an offensive tear. They scored 114 points or more in six of their last eight games, including a game against the Memphis Grizzlies, one of the best defenses in the league. It helps that the Spurs are a poor defensive team. San Antonio allowed 113 points per game while also giving their opponents an insane 91 shots per contest in the regular season This isn't a tough defensive matchup, which should lead to success for this streaking Pelicans offense.
There's something to be said for momentum, and the Spurs are entering this matchup with very little of it. San Antonio lost its last three regular-season contests and now faces a must-win game against a New Orleans team that won five of its last eight contests. There's also a chance that the Spurs aren't at full health for this matchup, as shooting guard Lonnie Walker IV is questionable heading into this contest. Walker's availability may not seem like a huge deal, but he plays significant minutes off the bench for the Spurs.
Final Spurs-Pelicans Prediction & Pick
This is a fairly easy pick. The Spurs have gotten the better of this matchup several times, and now they enter this game as underdogs. Lock in San Antonio to cover this spread with ease.
Final Spurs-Pelicans Prediction & Pick: San Antonio Spurs: +5.5 (-110)