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Pelicans Underdogs Facing Suns in the Desert

New Orleans Pelicans vs Phoenix Suns Betting Preview

The New Orleans Pelicans will be looking to continue their two-game winning streak on Thursday night against the favored Phoenix Suns, who are coming off back-to-back losses. Point guard Ricky Rubio isn’t expected to play for Phoenix on Thursday after sitting out all but 16 minutes of the Suns’ last two losses due to back spasms.

Matchup Information
  • New Orleans Pelicans vs Phoenix Suns (Matchup Report)
  • Date/Time: November 21, 10:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: TNT
  • Opening Odds: Phoenix -6 | O/U 233 (Line History)

Opening Odds Analysis

Books opened with the Pelicans listed as 6-point underdogs on the road against the Suns with a total of 233 points. The Pelicans were listed as 2.5-point road favorites in their last contest against the Suns back in April but lost 133-126 in an OVER result. For Thursday night the Pelicans have Derrick Favors and Josh Hart listed as out and Lonzo Ball as questionable. First overall pick Zion Williamson continues to rehab from knee surgery and is out indefinitely for New Orleans.

New Orleans News & Notes

The Pelicans are coming off a 115-104 win over the Portland Trail Blazers in veteran forward Carmelo Anthony’s return to an NBA court for the first time in over a year. However, the Blazers were without their best player, point guard Damian Lilliard, who was out with back spasms.

While Portland wasn’t at full strength, the same could be said for the Pelicans, who were without key players Jahlil Okafor, Ball, Hart and Favors. Without them, the Pelicans have to rely heavily on the scoring prowess of combo guard Jrue Holiday and the much-improved Brandon Ingram, who is averaging a career-high 25.4 points per game in his first season in New Orleans.

Although the Pelicans are coming off back-to-back home victories, they face a tough task in a much-improved Phoenix Suns team off to an unexpected 7-6 start to the season. The Pelicans’ depleted frontcourt is essentially down to rookie center Jaxson Hayes, an athletic but raw talent.

Phoenix News & Notes

After winning five of their first eight contests, the Phoenix Suns have come back down to earth over the last two, dropping back-to-back games both straight up and against the spread. The Suns’ glaring lack of cohesion on offense over the last two games could be attributed to the loss of starting point guard Ricky Rubio, who was held out of their November 18 game against the Boston Celtics and removed from Wednesday’s game against the Kings due to back spasms. Rubio is listed as doubtful against the Pelicans.

The Suns are also without last year’s first overall pick Deandre Ayton, who continues to serve a 25-game suspension stemming from a failed drug test. In his absence, veteran center Aron Baynes has picked up the slack, averaging a career-best 14.5 ppg on 56 percent shooting from the field and a scorching 44 percent from deep.

However, Baynes is listed as out for the second straight game with a lingering hip injury. His backup, third-string center Frank Kaminsky, scored 17 points in his first start of the season against the Kings. His floor spacing alongside fellow sharpshooting big man Dario Saric can serve as a major X factor against the Pelicans’ similarly ravaged frontcourt.

Betting Pick: Suns -6

The Suns are likely without Rubio and Baynes once again but are facing a similarly hobbled Pelicans team. Shooting guard and offensive centerpiece Devin Booker is off to another fantastic start, and the Suns’ bench depth remains a team strength. Phoenix is 9-4 ATS overall this season and 6-3 ATS at home. Additionally, the Pelicans have failed to win three games in a row all year and are 2-4 ATS on the road.

Shark Bites
  • The total has gone UNDER in 6 of New Orleans’ last 7 games.
  • Phoenix is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games.
  • New Orleans is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 road games vs Phoenix.