NBA is back after the pandemic break, as the teams jostle to find their way to the play-offs. The Walt Disney Resort near Orlando, Florida is playing host to these matches, as the teams work their way to success. Hot favourites in the Western Conference LA Clippers will look to keep the pressure on first-placed LA Lakers when they play New Orleans Pelicans. The Clippers have a 44-21 record and have already qualified for the play-offs from the Western Conference, while Pelicans have a 28-37 record and need to improve fast to qualify.
Clippers have lost 103-101 to city rivals LA Lakers in their first match on return. That loss makes it two in their last three matches, although the Clippers have won six in a row. Overall, the Clippers have won seven of their last nine and most of those wins have come comprehensively. A winning margin of at least ten points has been achieved in six of those seven wins, which brings the spread in play. Incidentally, the Clippers haven’t lost two NBA games in a row since the third week of February.
The Pelicans also started their post-pandemic schedule with a loss, losing narrowly 106-104 to Utaz Jazz. The heated race for the West’s no. 8 seed sees the Pelicans in a tight battle with Portland Trail Blazers (29-37) and Sacramento Kings (28-36). Frustrations for the New Orleans side stem from the fact that they blew up a 16-point lead and missed a buzzer three-pointer against Utah. The Pelicans have struggled to close out games this season and have now lost a league-leading 20 games in which they had the lead or were tied in the final minute of relegation.
NBA restart has been welcomed with anticipation, as the teams look to sort out their play-off chances. The Clippers are guaranteed a spot but will look to stay in the top-two. The Pelicans’ need a win to get back to winning ways and look at making the 8th seed finish their own. Either way, we expect this to be tight and are backing the Clippers with -4.5 spread. That is, we are expecting the Clippers to win by five points or more.