San Antonio Spurs (-8.5, 207.5 o/u) at New Orleans Pelicans
After hammering the Detroit Pistons last night, the San Antonio Spurs (51-9, 22-9 Away) are right back at it, aiming for their seventh straight win as they visit the New Orleans Pelicans (23-36, 16-13 Home) at the Smoothie King Center tonight (8:00 PM Eastern).
Lost amidst the Golden State Warriors’ historic pace is the near-historic season by the Spurs. The team still has a single-digit number in the loss column and are 29-0 at home. That’s kept them just four games back of the Warriors for top spot in the league. Kawhi Leonard and company haven’t lost since February 18 and have won their last four by double-digits (covering in all four).
Last night, Leonard’s 27 points led San Antonio to a 97-81 win over Detroit. The stifling defensive effort was just the latest in a string; the Spurs, who surrender a league-low 92.3 PPG, have reduced that number to 86.2 in their last quartet of games.
After reaching the postseason last year and giving the Warriors a decent test in the first round, New Orleans was expected to take strides this year. But that hasn’t been the case.
Led by Anthony Davis (23.9 PPG), the Pelicans are one of the higher-scoring teams in the league (102.7 PPG, 11th in the NBA), but they’re abysmal on defense (105.6 PPG against) and currently sit 13 games below .500. They have been much better at home than on the road (16-13 versus 7-23) but dropped their last home game to the bottom-feeding Timberwolves (112-110). They followed that up with a road loss to the Rockets last night (100-95) and now sit six games back of Houston for the final playoff spot in the West.
Falling well short of expectations has led to a terrible record against the spread, as well. The Pelicans are 25-34 ATS on the year. The Spurs, meanwhile, are 38-22 against the number. Those trends may not be the ones to follow tonight, however, as San Antonio has covered just once in its last ten tries in New Orleans, and the Pelicans are 21-7 in their last 28 as a home underdog.
Don’t expect the Pelicans to win this game, but they have proven to be a good b et when they have points to spare at home.
Pick: Pelicans +8.5.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (Flickr: Anthony Davis) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo may appear cropped from its original.)