Friday night in the NBA I will have a free pick in the game between the Phoenix Suns and the New Orleans Pelicans, which will take place at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. The game has a start time of 8:00 pm (Eastern) and will be televised locally. Current Vegas betting odds have the Pelicans listed as 9 point favorites, while the total is set at 197.
Analysis: The Phoenix Suns have really played themselves out of the playoffs, as they come in having lost 7 of their last 8 games, including a bad 96-69 loss at Atlanta on Tuesday night and a 3 point road loss to Dallas on Wednesday night. Overall the Suns are 39-40, which includes a 17-22 mark on the road. Phoenix has gone 5-1 ATS in their last 6 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game, but just 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 Friday games. The Suns have been a good offensive team this year, ranking 10th in scoring (102.9 ppg), 14th in shooting, 20th in 3 point shooting and 12th in FT shooting. Defensively the Suns have been poor this year, ranking 26th in points allowed (103.3 ppg), 17th in defensive FG% and 20th in 3 point defense.
The New Orleans Pelicans come in off a bad 36 point road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, but still this team has won 5 of their last 7 games and they have taken the 8th playoff spot from the Oklahoma City Thunder, despite the fact that both teams have identical 42-36 records. New Orleans has gone 40-19-3 ATS in their last 62 games following a SU loss of more than 10 points, but just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.The Pelicans have been an average offensive team this year, ranking 16th in scoring (99.2 ppg), 11th in shooting, 4th in 3 point shooting and 17th in FT shooting. Defensively the Pelicans have average this year, ranking 13th in points allowed (98.7 ppg), 23rd in defensive FG% and 2nd in 3 point defense.
Pick: Going with the Under in this game. The Phoenix suns just scored 104 points at Dallas, but this is a much better defensive team that they will be taking on as the Pelicans have allowed just 98.7 ppg overall and just 98 ppg at home. The Pelicans have also allowed just 96 ppg in their last 7 games overall They will be taking on a Phoenix team that has run out of gas offensively as they suns have averaged just 90 ppg in heir last 7 games. New Orleans has averaged just 96.2 ppg in their last 5 games, while Phoenix has allowed just 100.8 ppg in their last 5 games. I can see this one finishing something like 101-92.
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