Pelicans vs. Thunder: Game 1 prediction, odds, picks for Sunday 4/21

Here you will find everything you need to know Pelicans vs. Thunder on Sunday April 21 – us expert prediction And bets for today’s match.

After an inspiring run to the playoffs during the Play-In Tournament, the Pelicans now travel to play one of basketball’s all-time great teams without their best player.

As the adrenaline of advancing to the playoffs without Zion Williamson wears off, a Pelicans team that has had little luck defensively must push itself to stop one of the most lethal offenses in basketball and do so in one of the most difficult circumstances.

Can New Orleans continue its dream run, or will Oklahoma City have the answers? Let’s dive into my choose And prediction for Pelicans vs. Thunder Game 1 on Sunday evening.

Pelicans vs Thunder Odds

Sunday April 21, 9:30 PM, TNT

Pelicans odds
Scatter Top/Bottom Moneyline
-110 / -110
Thunder Chances
Scatter Top/Bottom Moneyline
-110 / -110

Odds via FanDuel. View the current NBA odds here.

New Orleans Pelicans

Any positivity surrounding this team with the return of Brandon Ingram quickly disappeared when Williamson left the first game of the Play-In tournament with a hamstring injury. The Pelicans saw their solid defensive credentials take a dip in the final month of the season without Ingram on the floor, and now they’ll have to find a way to score without a player who sat just outside the top 10 in estimated offensive impact. season according to Dunks and Threes.

The good news here is that Williamson’s absence shouldn’t impact this team’s ability to knock down three-pointers. New Orleans was one of the league’s best shooting teams this season at 38.8% according to Cleaning the Glass, and as of early April the Pelicans ranked second with a 42.2% shooting percentage from deep, thanks to C.J.’s efforts McCollum.

The Pelicans have also had one of the best three-point defenses in the NBA all season, and while that wasn’t the case in April, it was largely due to Ingram’s absence. Oklahoma City was the third-best team in the league this season, and while that’s far from the only way the team can beat you, it certainly comes in handy to have that in your pocket if you’re the Pelicans.

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Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder have had a great time at home this season, going a whopping 33-8 straight and 27-14 against the spread. They watched their three-point shooting grow by a point in these games while their defense clamped down even further, highlighting just how difficult it is for opponents to play against this team on the road.

The meat and potatoes of the Oklahoma City offense is its ability to score from beyond the arc, although it is top 10 in every shooting zone this year. In a strange twist, it has deviated from the norm of the most efficient offenses by taking most of its shots from mid-range, though it certainly hasn’t hurt as it knocks down 46.8% of shots in that area.

Defensively I mean: make your choice. How do you want to attack this team? Teams that rely on elite post scoring will face the best rim protection in the NBA, allowing just 61.6% of shots to come from within three feet of the basket. If you’re a team looking at it from deep, the Thunder have allowed worse than 37% shooting in that regard, dropping below 36% in the month of April.

Production has dropped off very subtly, but the Thunder are still dominant everywhere and have even improved in their weakest area, the perimeter.

The only criticism of the Thunder is their terrible rebounding, but even then they rank 15th this month – higher than even the Pelicans, who would normally have the edge in this category. The Thunder have also forced a ton of turnovers, ranking first in the NBA, and have limited them better than all but five teams.

Pelicans vs. Thunder

Betting selection and prediction

Few teams force more turnovers than the Pelicans, but the Thunder are one of them. They’re in a unique position here to win the turnover battle against a New Orleans team that does this almost every night, plus their three-point defense should shine here against a team that will be forced to turn back. to take a large number of shots from deep.

The Pelicans are a team playing with energy right now, but the time they can survive without one of their best players is limited, as we saw in the immediate aftermath of Ingram’s injury. Their deficit on the glass and on defense in general will be quite apparent on Sunday against perhaps the most complete team in the Western Conference.

Choice: Thunder -8.5 (-110)