Zion Williamson & Pelicans Look to Beat LeBron & Lakers in New Orleans as 2.5-Point Underdogs

Lakers vs Pelicans
The Los Angeles Lakers handed the New Orleans Pelicans a 118-109 loss five days ago. Can the Pelicans extract some revenge Sunday at home? Photo by Jim_Eichenhofer (Twitter).
  • The Los Angeles Lakers visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday (Mar. 1, 8:00 pm ET)
  • New Orleans has won six of its last eight, and Zion Williamson has scored 20 or more points in 10 straight
  • LA is looking to improve to 8-0 on the second half of back-to-backs this season

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers travel to New Orleans to face Zion Williamson and the Pelicans on Sunday night (Mar. 1, 8 pm ET). The Lakers are fresh off a loss in Memphis Saturday night, while the Pelicans were victorious at home versus Cleveland on Friday.

Los Angeles Lakers vs New Orleans Pelicans Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total at Bovada
Los Angeles Lakers -2.5 (-115) -140 OFF
New Orleans Pelicans +2.5 (-105) +120 OFF

Odds taken Feb. 29th

To no one’s surprise, Los Angeles, who owns the best record in the West, opened as a 2.5-point road favorite against a New Orleans team that is five games under .500 at home. These two teams met five days ago in LA, with the Lakers earning a 118-109 win as 7.5-point favorites.

A Great First Impression

That game marked the first time that LeBron and Zion had ever gone head-to-head and it did not disappoint. King James led LA with 40 points and 8 rebounds, while Williamson poured in 29 and grabbed 6 boards for New Orleans.

It was the 9th straight game that Zion has scored 20 or more points, a streak he extended Friday against the Cavaliers to 10. He’s shooting 58% from the field this season and the Pelicans have been red-hot since the first week of February. They’ve won six of their past eight and are now within striking distance of eighth place in the West.

Since Williamson joined New Orleans in late January, they have a +5.9 net rating which is exactly the same as LA over that stretch. With the Pelicans on the rise and the Grizzlies, who currently occupy the West’s final playoff spot, fading, Sunday’s game could potentially be a preview of the first round of the playoffs.

Back-to-Back Beasts

This year’s Lakers team has been impressive on many different fronts despite the hiccup against the Grizzlies. They own the West’s best record and lead the conference in point differential and points allowed. They’ve won nine of their last 11, and are 24-6 away from home.

But perhaps the most amazing thing about their season to date is their record in the second half of back-to-backs. The majority of NBA teams have a 50% win rate or less in these situations, but the Lakers enter Sunday’s contest without a single blemish. They’re 7-0 in the second half of back-to-backs, which is the best in the West, and they’ve covered the spread in six of those seven games.

Plug Your Nose and Play the Pelicans

Fading LA is tough in any situation, but especially one in which they’ve continuously excelled. But we can’t bet with our hearts, we must bet with our heads and getting points with a surging Pelicans squad is too good a spot to pass up.

New Orleans is by no means a world beater against the number, but they are trending in the right direction. They’re 6-2 ATS in their last eight, and they’ve covered 10 of the last 15 times they’ve been an underdog. This is arguably their biggest game of the season and if we know anything about Zion, it’s that he tends to shine brightest on the biggest stages.

Pick: Pelicans +2.5 (-105)

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