Thunder to shock New Orleans at home in Wednesday’s NBA Play-In Game

  • Go to BetOnline or Bovada for the latest odds on the Pelicans vs Thunder Western Conference Play-In matchup
  • The NBA’s play-in tournament features the 7th through 10th place clubs battling for the final two playoff seeds in each conference
  • Wednesday’s contest tips off from Smoothie King Center in New Orleans at 9:30pm ET on ESPN

While competing in the NBA Play-In tournament is usually a sign of an unsuccessful year, the Thunder have already far exceeded expectations this season. As the youngest team in the league, Oklahoma City (40-42) was expected to be a bottom-dweller. Instead, they’re just two victories away from the postseason.

Can they author a road upset of New Orleans (42-40) on Wednesday night and advance to play the T-Wolves on Thursday? Before we break down the matchup and make our picks, check out the latest 2023 NBA Playoff Betting Odds and our guide to betting on the 2023 NBA Finals.

Pelicans vs Thunder

BetOnline ReviewSpreadMoney LineTotal Points
Oklahoma City Thunder+5.5 (-110)+185Ov 228 (-110)
New Orleans Pelicans-5.5 (-110)-215Un 228 (-110)

Can SGA lead OKC to victory?

New Orleans claimed the season series 3-1, but Oklahoma City captured their most recent matchup in March. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 35 points in the 110-96 win. The Canadian point guard finished the season as the NBA’s fourth-leading scorer, averaging 31.4 points per game. He also registered a career-high 44 points in an overtime-loss to the Pelicans back in December.

Brandon Ingram only played in one of the four matchups between the two clubs but he made it count, putting up 34 points in a win. With Zion Williamson still missing in action with a hamstring injury, Willie Green’s team will continue to rely on Ingram. The lanky forward is coming off a 42-point, 12-rebound, seven-assist performance in Sunday’s loss to Minnesota.

Who’s the better team?

New Orleans was in second place in the West with a 23-13 record when Williamson got hurt. Since that time, they’ve gone 19-27 while the Thunder went 25-21 over that same stretch. However, the Pelicans (7-3) have a better record than OKC (4-6) over the past ten games.

Center Jonas Valanciunas gives the Pels a definitive edge in the paint and veteran shooter CJ McCollum has gotten hot in big games before. But, Mark Daigneault’s squad could pull the upset if they play loose. Stocked with ascending talent such as Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Luguentz Dort and Jalen Williams, OKC has one of the most talented young nucleuses in all of basketball.

New Orleans Pelicansto win Western Conference
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Oklahoma City Thunderto win Western Conference
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New Orleans vs Oklahoma City

New Orleans is a 5.5-point favorite at home on Wednesday night. New Orleans is a respectable 27-14 in the Big Easy, covering 57.5 of their games in the Smoothie King Center. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City was just 16-25 as visitors, despite covering in 55.3% (21-17-3) of their road games. The Thunder were 19-11-3 (63.3%) against the spread as road underdogs, the fourth-best mark in the NBA, while the Pelicans were 16-13-1 (55.5%) as home chalk.

The game-total has been set at 228 points. New Orleans home games hit the OVER 56.1% of the time (top ten in the league). And OKC road games also skew slightly under (51.2%).

Best Bet

While the Pelicans are in a constant state of purgatory, waiting for Zion to get healthy, OKC is playing with house money. We expect this young Thunder team to play with no fear and advance to the next round of the NBA Play-In tournament.

Oklahoma City ThunderTo Win
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Steve Starr

Steve is the quintessential American sports enthusiast. He has mastered the art of Sundays, devoting them to football, and barbecue parties. He proudly wears the hats of a good father, husband and a great dog owner. Aside from his decades of contributing to different top-tier sports publications, Steve has also found his niche on Twitter, where he publishes funny and relatable sports-related insights. When he's not busy tweeting, Steve loves to watch each game unfold live. He possesses an innate talent for finding humor in the sports world, appreciating both the thrilling moments and the comedic mishaps that make each event unique.