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The Golden State Warriors (17-19) will play host to the New Orlean Pelicans (22-15) when the two meet for a Western-Conference battle in the Bay Area on Wednesday night.
The Warriors welcomed Draymond Green back to practice on Monday after he was reinstated following a 12-game suspension. They need all of the help they can get at the moment, as they’re flirting with missing the Play-In Tournament and two games under .500.
The Pelicans are inconsistent but they are also one of the most interesting and underrated teams in the league. They’re writing for a top-six seed in the West and enter the matchup with wins in five of their last six games.
Here, we will break down the betting odds and share our favorite picks for the Pelicans vs. Warriors matchup on Wednesday.
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The Warriors are slight favorites at home as they look to get their season back on track. They beat the Pelicans on the road in the third outing of the season, 130-102, a game in which Steph Curry dropped 42 points with seven made threes.
|New Orleans Pelicans
|Over 233.5 (-110)
|Golden State Warriors
|Under 233.5 (-110)
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The Pelicans can fly under the radar because of their market size, or because Brandon Ingram and C.J. McCollum were traded as afterthoughts, or because Zion Williamson is involved in so much off-court drama, but make no mistake about it, they are a very scary team.
At 22-15, they’re just a couple of games out of the 1.5 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the fourth seed in the conference. They also have wins over the top three teams in the conference, the Minnesota Timberwolves (twice), Oklahoma City Thunder, and Denver Nuggets, along with other quality opponents.
Let’s start with the negatives: because they don’t have a clear-cut alpha on their team, they can become disorganized down the stretch. They’re 24th in net rating and only 6-8 in clutch games (games within five points in the final five minutes).
There’s also a standing injury concern with Zion, who’s appeared in less than 51% of possible games as a professional (but also in 81% of possible games this season).
Conversely, there’s a long list of positives for New Orleans. They’re seventh in overall net rating and are in the top-half of the league in rebound rate, assist-to-turnover ratio, and effective field goal percentage.
One of the Pels’ biggest improvements is their long-range shooting. They climbed from 14th in three-point percentage a year ago to sixth this time around, sinking 37.9% of their attempts. They’re also 11th in points off turnovers and 12th in points in the paint, which gives them a solid overall balance of production.
What makes New Orleans even more interesting from a broader perspective, however, is the team’s ability to cycle through individual matchups without worry. Jose Alvarado, Dyson Daniels, Herb Jones, and Trey Murphy III and are all great-to-excellent defenders that constantly disrupt opposing offenses (fifth in steals and deflections per game).
On top of that, the Pelicans have the fourth-best road net rating (+3.5), far better than the Warriors’ home net rating (-0.6).
Speaking of the Warriors, Steve Kerr still hasn’t figured out how to drag his once-unflappable out of the landslide it finds itself in.
A combination of underperforming veterans, Draymond’s suspension, and failing to earn the trust of younger players such as Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody has resulted in the Dubs being uncharacteristically below .500 and only 11-10 at home (where they were 33-8 last season).
Golden State is 12th in offensive rating and 21st in defensive rating or an overall net ranking of 17th. They also aren’t improving and have lost five of their last seven games.
As we’ve discussed before, the Warriors don’t do a whole lot well aside from gang rebounding. They lost their three-point identity (15th in percentage - 36.9%) and played with reckless abandonment, turning the ball over at the seventh-highest rate in the league.
Opposing teams are also wise to the fact that the offense is almost totally reliant on Stephen Curry for a spark of energy, which has made Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins’ declines even more profound. Teams often double or heavily shade their defense in Curry’s direction, which is why he, despite having an All-NBA season, has a -2.8 net rating when on the court.
Can you guess where we’re going based on our analysis?
Look, the Warriors still have the potential to beat playoff teams when they’re on, but they have no identity or consistency, and their clear-cut best player has been more ineffective than he has been effective.
The Pelicans are hamstrung by not having an MVP-level player in their lineup but they are much deeper and can function better in a variety of atmospheres. Because of that and everything we outlined above, we like the Pelicans to win and cover on Wednesday.
Note: Zion Williamson is questionable with a hamstring injury, and his status will heavily impact where the line ends up. We like the pick without him and love it with him.
Pelicans vs. Warriors pick: Pelicans -0.5 at BetMGM
When: Wednesday, Jan. 10 @ 5:30/8:30 p.m. PT/ET
Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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