Suns Hit the Road
The Phoenix Suns will play four of their next five games on the road, starting with a trip to the Smoothie King Center where they take on the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Suns have been the best road team in the NBA, going 25-6 straight up with an average margin of +7.1 points. The question now is whether they maintain that standard having secured a comfortable buffer atop the Western Conference standings heading into the final month of the regular season.
Let’s check the latest news, stats, injury reports, and NBA odds for Suns vs Pelicans. We’ve plenty of predictions for you to consider.
Pelicans Hoping for Change in Fortune
It was barely a week ago that the New Orleans Pelicans were one of the hottest commodities in the league as they pushed to secure a playoff spot in the crowded Western Conference.
A 117-102 win against the Suns in their first game back from the All-Star break helped spark a run of four straight wins for a team that owned the best offensive rating in the league during that run. In fact, our NBA betting preview on the BetUS NBA Show projected the Pelicans hot run coming out of the break.
A tough OT loss in Denver followed, but the real setback came when Brandon Ingram went out with a hamstring strain and CJ McCollum followed suit with COVID protocols, leaving the Pelicans without their two biggest offensive scorers and playmakers.
They have lost four of their last five outings, with this also being their finale of a four-game home stand. McCollum is currently listed as questionable for this game and his return will undoubtedly have a big impact on the competitiveness of this team.
The Pelicans have gone a respectable 19-16 ATS on their home floor and if former Portland guard McCollum is cleared to play, the 5½-point spread on offer seems rather generous for a desperate home team.
Suns Marching Toward Top Seed
The loss of Chris Paul for seemingly the remainder of the regular season has done little to dampen the spirits of Phoenix.
The Suns have gone 6-4 coming out of the All-Star break, which is made more impressive when you look at their tough schedule in that period. With 14 games remaining, the team holds a 7½- game lead over the Golden State Warriors for both the No.1 seed in the West and the Pacific Division title.
Even in the absence of their floor general the Suns remain a well-balanced roster that continues to impose its identity on games. They own a +7.3 net rating over the past three weeks without Paul; the fifth-best differential in the NBA.
That’s largely built on a defense that is third in the league in that time period, giving up just 109.2 points per 100 possessions.
Cam Johnson remains the only other Phoenix player out of the rotations through injury, although he was hardly missed last time out as they embarrassed the Los Angeles Lakers 140-111 on a night where they set a season high in points.
Suns vs Pelicans Head-to-Head
The New Orleans Pelicans were 117-102 winners in the previous meeting between these sides last month.
That came after the Pelicans had lost both prior meetings, which included a 123-110 win in this building back in January.
The Suns are also 2-1 ATS in the series, with the winner of each meeting covering the line to date.
Suns vs. Pelicans Game Information
- Game: Phoenix Suns (54-14) v New Orlean Pelicans (28-40)
- Location: Smoothie King Center
- Day/Time: Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET
- Live Stream: NBATV
Suns vs. Pelicans Betting Lines
Suns vs. Pelicans Prediction
There’s a lot to try and unpack here without having confirmation on the availability of McCollum, which likely won’t come to the fore until just before tip-off.
For those looking at betting online for this one, the first recommendation I can give is to ultimately find confirmation on McCollum’s status before making a play.
If he’s in, the current market opener of 5½ points in favor of the Pelicans is generous, all things considered. The Suns haven’t won a four-game season series between these teams since the 2013-14 season, and the home side will certainly be doing their part in ensuring that doesn’t change here in a game of far greater value to them than Phoenix.
The strongest angle that won’t be quite as impacted by McCollum’s status is to look at the full game total, which the sportsbook has listed at 228 points.
Two of the three season meetings between these teams has stayed under that total and, given the absences for both sides, it’s difficult to see how this game doesn’t follow suit.
Both these teams are mid-tier in terms of their pace of play over the past month. With the inside presence of Jonas Valanciunas and Deandre Ayton at either, this should be a game where neither team generates a lot of second chance opportunities on the boards.
I’d be comfortable playing this down to 221½ should it head in that direction, and on a pretty light slate, this for me is one of the best NBA bets tonight.