The New Orleans Pelicans touch down in San Antonio looking to pick off the Spurs, who are coming off a loss against the Denver Nuggets less than 24 hours ago. San Antonio (9-16) is 0-2 on the second night of a back-to-back, a fact the Pelicans (8-20) hope to exploit. They will be interesting underdogs on the NBA odds this Sunday.
New Orleans remains without superstar Zion Williamson (foot), who has allegedly gotten so out-of-shape that his return is nowhere near imminent. It may already look like a lost season for the team, but it is 5-4 in its last nine and 3-2 on the road.
NBA Odds Preview
Pelicans vs Spurs (7 PM ET, BSNO)
- Point Spread: New Orleans +2½ (-110), San Antonio -2½ (-110)
- Moneyline: New Orleans +110, San Antonio -130
- Total: Over 219½ (-110), Under 219½ (-110)
Pelicans: With or Without You
With nearly 30 games in the books, New Orleans has started to adjust to life without Williamson. The Pelicans started with one win in their first 13 games. But the team has pulled off upsets over the likes of Dallas, the Jazz, and the Clippers as no less than a seven-point underdog.
In fact, New Orleans is 4-4 as an underdog after being 3-14 earlier. We can see an improvement on both sides of the ball. The Pelicans are ninth in offensive rating and 17th in defensive rating. They are moving the ball well (fifth in assist percent) and rebounding effectively (second in rebounding percent).
It’s a team effort for the “Pels”. Jonas Valanciunas, Brandon Ingram, and others have had big games. But the steady growth of the team makes them worth a bet online as underdogs.
Spurs: Who Needs Rest?
It was San Antonio exploiting a tired visitor as they trounced the Nuggets 123-111 in a high-scoring game. Now, the Spurs are the ones overcoming the lack of rest by looking to turn back the Pelicans and as chalk according to most NBA Vegas picks.
VICTORIA de los @spurs ante NUGGETS
Derrick White: 23 PTS, 4 AST, 2 BLK
Lonnie Walker IV: 21 PTS
Dejounte Murray: 20 PTS, 8 REB, 9 AST pic.twitter.com/WD5kBpHBFn
— NBA Spain (@NBAspain) December 10, 2021
The Spurs lost both of their games when they had no rest. But considering their opponents were the NBA finalists Milwaukee and Phoenix, there is no shame in it. This is still a team that has performed much better than their record suggests.
Gregg Popovich’s young crew is 14-11 against the spread (ATS) and 4-3 at home in their last seven. We can thank their prolific home offense for their success as this team may look like a Honda Civic but it can drive like a Lamborghini.
Between these teams, we lean on the Pelicans at an underdog price on the Bet US online sportsbook. But we’re more confident that this will be a high-scoring contest. When teams are tired, the defense suffers. The Spurs have allowed an average of 121 points on the second night of a back-to-back even if it is against elite competition.
But the Pelicans can be explosive on offense when given the right space. San Antonio takes quarters off on defense while this concept is a work-in-progress with New Orleans. Ten of the Spurs’ 13 home games have gone over. Make this the 11th.
Going with our previous point, the Pelicans stop trying on defense by the second half. They are a bottom-five unit here while the Spurs also allow the second-most third-quarter points at home. The offense will be steadier so we expect the second half to look like the Wild West.