Nikola Jokic is on his way to a third straight MVP, and we’re confident the Joker will haunt New Orleans for the second week in a row when Denver hosts the Pels tonight. Read more on our Pelicans vs. Nuggets.
The New Orleans Pelicans were flying high. Zion Williamson was finally starting to look like a guy worthy of being picked No. 1 overall, and they were sitting atop the Western Conference standings.
Then Zion got hurt.
Since suffering a hamstring injury, the Pelicans are 3-11 and have lost eight straight ball games. The Pels will have to play their best game if they want to end this streak, as they will face the team that currently sits atop the West in the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets are led by MVP Betting Favorite Nikola Jokic and the Joker have been a problem for the Pels this season. Will New Orleans finally be able to slow him down and cover the gap as road losers, or will Denver be too high a peak for the Pels to climb?
I break it all down and bring you my best bet on our NBA picks and predictions for Pelicans vs. Nuggets on January 31.
Pelicans vs Nuggets best odds
Pelicans vs Nuggets Tips and Odds
But as the schedule gears up to move to February, Jokic is once again the favorite to win MVP. The Joker is averaging 25.1 points on a career-high 62.9 shooting percentage, along with 10.9 rebounds and 9.9 assists. He also has a player efficiency rating that matches his first two MVP seasons.
The Joker does it all for the Nuggets, but recently he’s taken it to the next level. Jokic is averaging 11.1 rebounds and 11.1 assists per game over his last 12 games, and it’s been a handful for the new orleans pelicans this season.
Jokic had 32 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists when these teams met on December 4. A week ago against New Orleans, he had 25 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. With zion williamson still sidelined, Jokic is in line for another great performance.
The Pelicans have lost some defensive muscle without Williamson, as the team ranks 17th in defensive rating since he went down. They also rank 15th in opponent assists and 17th in opponent rebounds per game during that span.
Jokic has had 22 or more rebounds and assists eight times in the last 12 games. With even money in this matchup, backing the Joker looks like a solid bet to top 21.5 once again.
My best bet: Nikola Jokic Over 21.5 rebounds + assists (+100)
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Analysis of the distribution between Pelicans and Nuggets
The Nuggets enter this Western Conference matchup as a 7.5-point chalk, but the starting number has come to the Pelicans, lowering the line to 6.5. However, it feels difficult to fade the Nuggets in this place.
For starters, fading the Pelicans has been super profitable since Zion Williamson went down, going 3-11 against the spread without him and 0-8 ATS during this eight-game losing streak. The Pels’ biggest problem this stretch has been that the offense has fallen off a cliff without Zion. The team occupies the penultimate place in offensive index in that section.
That means they’ll have a hard time keeping up with Jokic and a Nuggets team that leads the NBA in offensive rating.
On top of that, Denver returns home to an impressive 22-4 straight and 16-10 ATS, with the second-best net rating in the NBA.
It’s hard not to fade the Pelicans here until they get out of this tailspin. I would lean towards the Nuggets at home tonight.
Pelicans vs. Nuggets Over/Under Analysis
The total for this game came on the board at 233.5. Seed money has made its way to the Under, bringing the number down to 231 as of Tuesday afternoon.
It’s understandable that the starting money is on the Under, considering the Pels’ shaky offense and the fact that their matchup last week against Denver fell 35 points shy of a total of 232.
The Pelicans could get a boost if Brandon Ingram he’s able to adapt, and it’s not exactly like the Nuggets are a standout defensive team. Denver ranks 16th in defensive rating and just 23rd in opponent field goal percentage.
While both teams struggled to score in the last meeting, I wouldn’t be surprised if this turned into a shootout. In that case, I’ll stay away from the total on this one.
Pelicans vs Nuggets betting trend to know
New Orleans is 4-10 ATS in its last 14 road games, and Denver is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 home games. find more NBA Betting Trends for Pelicans vs. Nuggets.
Pelicans vs Nuggets game information
|Location:||Ball Arena, Denver, CO|
|Date:||Tuesday, January 31, 2023|
|Alert to:||10:00 p.m. Eastern Time|
Key injuries Pelicans vs Nuggets
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