Is Zion Playing In The Playoffs? Pelicans vs. Thunder Play-In Preview, Odds & Predictions

Is Zion Playing In The Playoffs? Pelicans vs. Thunder Play-In Preview, Odds & Predictions

Is Zion Playing In The Playoffs? Zion Williamson is not expected to play when the ninth seed Pelicans host the tenth seed Thunder in a must win Western Conference play-in game.

However,  if the Pelicans are able to advance past the play-in tournament, and make it through to a first round series against the Nuggets, Williamson is leaving the door open for a return. Thunder @ Pelicans is expected to tip-off at 09:30 PM ET, Wednesday, April 12th, 2023.

Despite a must-win situation for both teams, as both teams fight to progress to the final Western Conference play-in game against the Timberwolves, the Thunder are a substantial 5.5 point underdog.

MATCH PREVIEW

The Pelicans and the Thunder are set to face off in a crucial play-in tournament game, with the winner advancing to play the Timberwolves for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

The Pelicans are entering this game with a record of 29-23 in Western Conference games, despite missing the talents of their young superstar Williamson. Regardless, the Pelicans have been dominant in the paint, averaging 53.3 points per game, which ranks them ninth in the league.

The Thunder are coming into this game with a record of 25-27 in conference games. They have been successful in getting out in transition, averaging 14.6 fast break points per game, which ranks them seventh in the Western Conference.

OKC guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been the primary catalyst for their transition game, averaging 3.9 fast break points per game. He has been the team’s leading scorer this season, averaging 31.4 points per game, and has also been performing well recently, averaging 22.0 points per game over the last 10 games.

The Pelicans will be looking to Jonas Valanciunas to help anchor their frontcourt. Valanciunas has been shooting an impressive 54.7 percent from the field, while averaging 14.1 points per game. Brandon Ingram has also been on fire, averaging 29.0 points per game over the last 10 games.

For the Thunder, Jalen Williams will be a key player to keep an eye on. He’s been averaging 14.1 points per game and 4.5 rebounds, and will be looking to make an impact in this crucial game. Alongside Williams, Gilgeous-Alexander will be the player to watch, with his impressive scoring and guard rebounding numbers.

In their last 10 games, the Pelicans have been dominant, with a record of 7-3. They’ve been averaging 117.0 points per game, while shooting an impressive 49 percent from the field. Their opponents have been averaging just 108.8 points per game.

Adversely, OKC have struggled in their last 10 games, with a record of 4-6. They’ve been averaging 116.4 points per game, but their opponents have been averaging 118.1 points per game.

This game promises to be an exciting matchup, with both teams fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Pelicans will be looking to ride the hot hand of Ingram, while the Thunder will be looking to SGA and Williams to lead them to victory.

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ODDS AND PREDICTIONS

The Pelicans have dominated this matchup, winning three out of four games straight up, with a record of 2-2 against the spread (ATS). Although the Thunder’s victories both straight up and ATS came at New Orleans.

The last time these teams met was on March 11th, with the Thunder pulling off an upset as +1 underdogs, winning 110-96. Recently the Thunder has been struggling down the stretch, going 2-8 ATS in their last ten games, with five losses ATS in the last six games as underdogs. Meanwhile, the Pelicans went 6-3-1 ATS down the stretch, showing signs of improvement.

Although Oklahoma has been scoring big points recently, their scores seem to come when they’re playing catch-up from a losing position. On the other hand, the Pels have been playing without Zion since the start of the year and have improved significantly towards the back end of the season, shooting much better than the Thunder.

OKC has a record of 45-34-3 ATS this season, while NOLA went 39-42-1 ATS. However, New Orleans has been consistent in their last four games against teams with losing records, going 4-0 ATS.

Comparatively, the Thunder has been struggling on the road, going 1-5 ATS in their last six games.

Given these trends and the Pelicans’ dominance in the head-to-head matchup, our prediction is that the Pelicans will win and cover the spread. But remember, it’s important to keep in mind that sports betting always involves a degree of risk, and there’s no guarantee that this Pelicans offense will get shots to fall, nor that SGA and the Thunder wont be able to contain Ingram. As always, it’s essential to do your research and make an informed decision based on the available data.

Spread: Pelicans -5.5

Moneyline: Pelicans-210, Thunder+180

Pick: Pelicans -5.5

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