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NBA Play-In Preview: Los Angeles Clippers vs New Orleans Pelicans Betting Picks, Odds, & Predictions April 15th

<p>AP Photos</p>

AP Photos

TeamOdds
Los Angeles Clippers Moneyline-171
New Orleans Pelicans Moneyline+153
Los Angeles Clippers Spread-4
New Orleans Pelicans Spread+4
Clippers/Pelicans Game Total215
Game Date & TimeFri Apr 15th, 9:30PM ET
Odds via OddsJam Perfect Line

For the last of the 2022 play-in games, we have the Los Angeles Clippers playing host to the New Orleans Pelicans. The winner of this game becomes the 8 seed in the Western Conference, and gets the pleasure of matching up with the top seed in the entire NBA in the Phoenix Suns.

The Clippers are here after blowing a 7 point lead in the late stages of the 4th quarter against the Timberwolves in their first play-in game, while the Pelicans took care of the Spurs in pretty convincing fashion.

Unsurprisingly, as the home team the Clippers are the favorite here. They are currently 4 point favorites with the over/under set at 215.

I say unsurprisingly because the home team is 4-0 so far in these play-in games.

Looking at the moneyline odds here, there is a little bit of value on the Clippers if you get them on BetMGM at -165. I would imagine the Clippers are pretty disappointed with how they were defeated by the Timberwolves in their first play-in game, but they are still pretty decent favorites here.

Starting with them as the home team, it’s hard to look at season long statistics of the Clippers because of the injury bug. Kawhi has missed the entire season with a knee injury suffered in last years playoffs, while Paul George missed significant time with an elbow injury.

They won’t get Kawhi back in this playoff run, but they have already gotten George back.

If you isolate the Clippers to just games in which George appeared, they have an 18-13 record and their Net Rating would have been good for 7th best in the NBA. So, sort of like the Nets in the East, the Clippers are not a normal play-in team.

This is essentially the same Clippers roster that won the last two games over Utah in the playoffs to advance to the Western Conference Finals, and took the Suns to 6 games in that series. They accomplished all that without Kawhi.

The Clippers have a solid, hard-nosed roster, but they are also well coached by Ty Lue. I have immense respect for the coaching job that Lue has done in his two years as Clippers head coach.

For years the Clippers were plagued by head coach Doc Rivers who refused to make adjustments both as the season went on and also mid-game. In comes Lue, who is essentially a mad scientist.

He experimented with lineups, playing styles, and everything in-between. This benefitted the Clippers in the playoffs last year, and will continue to benefit them as long as he is the coach.

The Pelicans, meanwhile, are another example of a team that has essentially had two different seasons, and they certainly aren’t as bad as their 36-46 regular season record suggests. They started the season horrifically, but have been perfectly average since that slow start.

They were 6-17 on December 1st, and have played pretty much .500 basketball since then. As I said, perfectly average.

They also have looked like a better team since the CJ McCollum trade. His first game with the Pelicans was on February 10th, and if you isolate the data from that date on- the Pelicans have the 10th best Net Rating in the NBA. Ahead of the 20-7 Mavericks, the 18-11 Raptors, and also ahead of the 18-10 Nuggets in that same span.

For whatever reason that improved play did not translate to actual Ws on the scoreboard. The Pelicans were just 14-14 in that stretch.

The main storyline surrounding the Pelicans all year, of course, was the mystery of Zion Williamson. He underwent surgery for a fractured right foot some time in the off-season, and has yet to make his return. His return date kept getting pushed back, before the Pelicans finally declared him out for the season.

It is understandable for the Pelicans to start slow with this circus surrounding the team, before settling in starting in December. Even without Zion, the Pelicans have some enticing talent on the roster.

McCollum, even with all his limitations, is still an extremely talented scorer. Of course, they still have Brandon Ingram. I also love young rookie Herb Jones, who flashed this season.

Overall, the Pelicans won’t make any real noise without Zion, but they at least have some other players to be excited about.

I went back and forth deciding who I wanted to take in this game, but after some research and looking at the OddsJam Perfect Line, I didn’t find a play on the moneyline or spread. Forced to make a prediction, I would probably take the Clippers to win and the Pelicans to cover.

Instead, I found a play on the total that I really liked. As you can see in the table at the top of the page, the OddsJam Line prices this total at 215, but I was able to get the under all the way up at 217 on BetRivers. So, this is my official bet for this game.

The unders went 4-0 to start the play-in games, and I again love the under in this one. The Clippers story all year was they were always good on defense but the offense could turn to sludge. Getting George back helps that a little, but they are still prone to offensive slumps.

The Pelicans, led by rookie defensive wizard Herb Jones, are actually pretty stout defensively as well. So, I love the value of the under here.

Los Angeles Clippers vs New Orleans Pelicans Pick:

My official NBA betting pick for this game is to take the game total going under. I got this at 217 on BetRivers at -115 odds.

Los Angeles Clippers vs New Orleans Pelicans Prediction:

My prediction for this game is that the Clippers win 107-106.

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