Best Lakers vs Pelicans Player Props Tonight: Jones Plays Pivotal Role

Herb Jones is one of the NBA's best defenders, but he's just as capable of filling the enemy hoop tonight, per our NBA betting picks. Find out how Jon Metler sees Jones making an impact for the Pelicans vs. the Lakers.

Apr 16, 2024 • 10:10 ET • 4 min read
New Orleans Pelicans NBA Herb Jones
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A matchup with the Denver Nuggets is on the line as the Los Angeles Lakers take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday in the Play-In Tournament, and we have searched through the NBA odds to find you the best NBA player props for this matchup.

The Los Angeles Lakers have had the New Orleans Pelicans' number this season, blowing them out multiple times. Once again, these two teams will meet in a high-stakes matchup. 

Can the Pelicans flip the script and get revenge for their loss in the semifinal of the In-Season Tournament? Find out which player props I'm backing in my free NBA picks for Tuesday, April 16.

Best Lakers vs Pelicans player props today

Picks made on 4/16 at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Read full analysis of each pick.

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Lakers vs Pelicans player props for April 16

Prop bet #1: Russell shows up

When the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers met on Sunday — the final day of the regular season — the Pelicans had a hard time protecting the rim against the Lakers, surrendering a ton of easy dunks at the basket to players such as Anthony Davis. This led to LeBron James dropping 17 dimes, but on Tuesday, I think we will see different defensive assignments that will make D'Angelo Russell the beneficiary of potential assists to Davis.

When the Lakers blitzed the Pelicans in Las Vegas in the semifinal for the In-Season Tournament, Herb Jones was the primary defender on James. Since then, the Pelicans have tried making Jones the primary defender on Jarred Vanderbilt (Austin Reaves and Russell weren't playing), Rui Hachimura, and on Sunday, Russell. Considering they were blown out, I feel confident that Jones won't be the primary defender on Russell once again on Tuesday.

In the last two games that James has played against the Pelicans, he has dropped 31 dimes. The Pelicans need to create more pressure on James; he's too good at reading the floor, and you can't let him pick apart your defense so easily with his passing. I think the Pelicans will move Jones back onto James as his primary defender in the rematch on Tuesday.

What this means for Russell is he won't have to deal with the potential First Team All-NBA defender in Jones. That should also mean higher usage, and the Lakers will be looking to attack his defensive matchups. If Jones is off of Russell, then Russell will be on the ball a lot more, working the pick-and-roll with Davis, and Russell will be the beneficiary of the high-value potential assists that James was receiving on Sunday.

Russell is projected to have 6.4 assists on Tuesday against the Pelicans, which allows us to price the D'Angelo Russell odds on Over 5.5 assists at -152, but it is available at Pinnacle at +108.

D'Angelo Russell prop: Over 5.5 assists (+108 at Pinnacle)

Prop bet #2: The Herbert Jones game?

Zion Williamson struggled to get anything going offensively on Sunday. The Lakers' defense successfully built walls against him, and that strategy won't change on Tuesday. While building walls will slow down Williamson, it will lead to open 3-point shots for his teammates, which is why I'm focusing on Herb Jones' points prop on Tuesday.

I believe you could make the argument to play the Over on Jones' points prop or Trey Murphy's, but I prefer the Herb Jones odds. I think Jones' minutes are much more secure than Murphy's, considering that Ingram is back and his minutes restriction will be increased. Murphy did see 31 minutes on Sunday, but the game was a blowout. Many bench players saw elevated minutes, and Ingram only played 23 minutes. For me, Jones' minutes are much more secure playing alongside McCollum, Williamson, and Ingram because of his defense. 

There's only so much a defense can take away in an NBA game, and the Lakers are going to concede 3-pointers to Jones, who is shooting a career-best 41.8% from beyond the arc. On Sunday, Jones attempted seven threes and scored 18 points. I don't see this changing for Jones; the field-goal attempts will be there because it's relative to how the Lakers guard Williamson.

Jones is projected to score 11.9 points on Tuesday against the Lakers, which allows us to price the Over 10.5 points at -134, but it is available at DraftKings at -105. Based on this projection, this bet is showing a positive expected value of 12%.

Herbert Jones prop: Over 10.5 points (-105 at DraftKings)

Prop bet #3: Don't sell Ingram short

Ingram finished Sunday's game with zero assists. It's not the box score you want to see before betting Over 4.5 assists in the Brandon Ingram odds, but the Pelicans were blown out, and the strategy will be different on Tuesday.

Ingram has only played in one game since returning from his knee injury and is on a minutes restriction. He played 23 minutes on Sunday but the game was a blowout, and Willie Green announced that Ingram's minutes restriction would be increased on Tuesday. 

At Over 4.5 (+105) for Ingram's assists prop, I believe you are receiving a discount on his prop because of the minutes restriction, but I don't believe the restriction will be that much below how many minutes you would typically see Ingram play in a regular-season game. Ingram just won't be touching 40 minutes like some other players will be in a playoff game, but I think you'll see close to his regular season average. Before the injury, Ingram's assists prop was typically set at 6.5, so we're two assists lower here and at plus money.

Another reason I love Ingram's assists prop is that the Pelicans' offense was operating at a high level before Ingram's injury when he was the primary facilitator. Ingram had pushed McCollum off the ball and was the one creating much of the offense. With how the Lakers defended Williamson and their ability to contain him, I think McCollum and Williamson will be pushed off the ball a little more on Tuesday, and this offense will run through Ingram.

Ingram is projected to have 5.4 assists on Tuesday against the Lakers, which allows us to price the Over 4.5 assists at -157, but it is available at BetRivers at +105.

Brandon Ingram prop: Over 4.5 assists (+105 at BetRivers)

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