Thunder vs. Pelicans Predictions, Odds, Props: Back This Team for This NBA Play-In Matchup

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The Oklahoma City Thunder (40-42), seeded 10th in the NBA Western Conference playoffs, will travel to face the ninth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night in the NBA’s final first-round play-in game.

New Orleans won the season series three games to one, but its triumphs were by a total of only 10 points.

The winner here will play Friday night on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The survivor of that Friday showdown gets the last berth in the full playoff bracket and will tangle in a best-of-seven with top-seeded Denver. That series starts Sunday.

This is OKC’s first postseason appearance in three years. New Orleans, meanwhile, will be looking to match what it did last year in winning twice in the play-in segment and earning the eighth seed.

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Thunder vs. Pelicans Odds: Moneyline, Spread, Total

The moneyline/spread on this game varies from site to site on most wagering boards, so it would be wise for bettors to check out the many offerings in an attempt to secure the best odds available. Included below are the current numbers for the Thunder vs. Pelicans game on the top sports betting apps.
OKC Thunder vs NO Pelicans Odds NBA Odds

NBA · Wed (4/12) @ 9:51pm ET

OKC Thunder at NO Pelicans
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana

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Thunder vs. Pelicans Betting News

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Can Shai Gilgeous-Alexander lead the Thunder past the Pelicans? Check out our odds and predictions. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

Oft-injured New Orleans center Zion Williamson, who hasn’t played since Jan. 2 while nursing a hamstring injury, won’t dress for this game or on Friday night in a second play-in game if the Pels advance. He reportedly wouldn’t even compete in the first round vs. Denver should they get that far. He averaged a team-high 26 points in his 29 starts.

Pelicans standout Brandon Ingram, who missed three of the team’s head-to-head meetings this year against OKC, will be in the lineup. The rugged forward has been averaging 27.4 points in March and April and scored 40 points twice, including 42 Sunday vs. Minnesota.

The headliner for Oklahoma City is All-Star point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He averaged 31.4 points a game this season, fourth best in the league. He joins MVP candidates Joel Embiid of Philadelphia and Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee as the only players to average 30-plus points and at least 50 percent from the field (51.0 percent).

OKC rookie forward Jalen Williams, the 12th overall draft pick last season, has come on strong in the latter half of the season, including a three-game stretch from March 26-29 when he had games of 23 points, a season-high 31, and then 27. Over the first 61 games of the season, he reached 23 on just three occasions. His season norm is listed at 14.4.

Read more: NBA Finals odds | NBA MVP odds | NBA odds

Thunder vs. Pelicans Betting Trends

Here, we have included some of the key Thunder vs. Pelicans betting trends so you can better understand which side has the advantage coming in.

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • The Thunder had the league’s third-best record against the spread this season, according to Covers.com, going 45-34-3 (56.96 percent). New Orleans ranked 21st at 39-42-1 (48.15).
  • In three of the four NO-OKC meetings, the point total went Under by at least 26 points. All four would have been Under had the Over game not gone to overtime.
  • The point total for this meeting is listed at 228. Bettors taking the Under cashed in on all six play-in games last year.
  • For those with high, high hopes for Oklahoma City, its odds are +50000 to win the league championship (FanDuel, PointsBet).

New Orleans Pelicans

  • New Orleans was 23-14 on Jan. 2 before Williamson was lost for the rest of the regular season. The Pelicans promptly lost 13 of their next 16 games, including 10 in a row.
  • In the Pelicans’ final 12 games of the regular season, however, they went 9-3 straight up and against the spread in leapfrogging Dallas and OKC in the standings.
  • In Ingram’s lone game against OKC, he had a team-high 34 points in a 103-101 victory.
  • The Pelicans averaged 114.4 points per game this season, but in three of their outings vs. OKC scored 105 or less.
  • New Orleans was 24-17 at home in 2022-23, tied for the ninth-best mark. OKC was 16-25 on the road.
  • The Pelicans also have +50000 odds to win the title (FanDuel). They were at +2000 before Williamson was sidelined.

Thunder vs. Pelicans Prop Bets

There are multiple ways to get a bet for tonight’s NBA Play-In game. If you have scanned the Thunder vs. Pelicans odds and are still looking for more action, consider following our best prop bet of the night.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Under 32.5 points (+100, Caesars Sportsbook)

Sure, he averaged 33.5 points in four outings vs. the Pelicans, but that 32.5 number posted is more than a point higher than his season average. Plus, he no doubt will be harassed by top defender Herbert Jones outside and 6-foot-11 veteran center Jonas Valanciunas inside in this win-or-go-home meeting.

Herbert Jones Over 4.5 rebounds (+100, Caesars Sportsbook)

If the Pelicans hold a late lead as expected as a 5- to 5.5-point choice, the Thunder could be jacking up less-than-stellar shots late and giving Jones a chance to build his rebound total. After all, OKC finished the season tied for sixth worst in field goal shooting percentage. Jones had a high of 11 rebounds in a game this season.

Josh Giddey More Than 18.5 points (+105, BetMGM)

With the Pelicans’ defense likely to cave in on Gilgeous-Alexander, Giddey should have a lot of open looks. He’s the team’s second-leading scorer at 16.6 points a game.

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Thunder vs. Pelicans Prediction

New Orleans certainly isn’t the same without Williamson but played impressively in the final weeks with victories over playoff-bound New York, Memphis, the LA Clippers, and the top-seeded Nuggets, who had the league’s second-best home record (34-7).

The Thunder, meanwhile, finished by losing six of its final 10 games, which included defeats at the hands of the woebegone Indiana Pacers and at home against (gasp!) the Charlotte Hornets. OKC’s two season-ending wins came against uninspired Utah and Memphis squads.

OKC, which was a combined 52 games under .500 the previous two seasons and has little playoff experience, is indeed a team to be reckoned with — not now, but in the future. The team squad that has some veterans with playoff experience deserves the nod. Pelicans cover and advance.

Pick: Pelicans cover and advance

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How To Watch Thunder vs. Pelicans

Date: Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Tipoff: 9:30 p.m. ET 

Location: Smoothie King Center — New Orleans, LA

Where to Watch: ESPN

Also check2023 NBA Finals odds

About the Author
Bob Christ

Bob Christ

Writer
Bob Christ, based in New Mexico, is a sports betting writer at Gaming Today. He has been a gaming writer (primarily for the NFL) for more than four decades, with his work appearing in publications and websites across North America. Christ is a big fan of the Arkansas Razorbacks, Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies, and the NHL's Winnipeg Jets.

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