Update: As expected, everyone is good to go for the Lakers. The line hasn’t shifted, but the total has moved down to 230. The Lakers are slightly better moneyline favorites at -135. I still like Pelicans +2 and the under on the total.
The New Orleans Pelicans (12-10) and Los Angeles Lakers (13-9) will face off Thursday in the second In-Season Tournament semifinal for a place in Saturday’s final. The Pelicans defeated the Kings on the road in Monday’s quarterfinal to get to this game, while the Lakers took out the Suns in Tuesday’s quarterfinal at home. This game will be played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The Pelicans are good on the day-to-day injury front, with only Larry Nance Jr. being sidelined for a while. The Lakers have Anthony Davis and Jarred Vanderbilt as probable, while LeBron James is listed as questionable. Everyone is expected to suit up for LA.
The Lakers are 2-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, with the total coming in at 231. Los Angeles is -125 on the moneyline while New Orleans is +105.
Pelicans vs. Lakers, 9 p.m. ET
Pick ATS: Pelicans +2
Even though Lakers fans can travel to create a “home game” atmosphere, this is a neutral site contest which does help New Orleans. The Pelicans are 13-8-1 ATS this season, while the Lakers are 10-12 ATS. Although the Lakers won three out of four games between these teams last year, only one of those games featured Zion Williamson for New Orleans. James was out for one of the games as well. The Pelicans are the superior offense, while the Lakers have the better defense. CJ McCollum being back for New Orleans does make a difference, and I’ll take the Pelicans as the underdog in this semifinal.
Over/Under: Under 231
These teams were 2-1-1 to the over in their four matchups a year ago. The Pelicans average 114.6 points per game, while the Lakers are at 112.2 points per game. However, neither team is particularly great at hitting the over. The Pelicans are 10-12 to the over while the Lakers are 9-13. In a semifinal matchup with high stakes, expect better defense from both groups to keep this total under 231.