Pelicans vs Thunder Predictions, Picks, Odds for Tonight’s NBA Playoff Game

The Thunder managed to squeak out a 94-92 win in Game 1 but while that game featured just 196 points, there's reason to believe these offenses will bounce back tonight. Find out why in our Pelicans vs. Thunder betting picks below.

Apr 24, 2024 • 18:21 ET • 4 min read
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This article contains predictions for an old game!

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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Oklahoma City Thunder NBA
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The New Orleans Pelicans will not go quietly into the night. Losing Zion Williamson in the biggest game of his career and for at least the short term could have dashed the Pelicans’ hopes, but instead, they rallied against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1, only to fall short in the last minute.

That fight should be remembered, and it stands out even more so when realizing the Pelicans did not get to the free throw line like should have been expected. That should correct itself tonight, and in correcting, it should boost overall scoring.

We will endorse a total in our free NBA picks as we dig into Pelicans vs. Thunder predictions, with tip on Wednesday, April 24, at 9:30 ET.

Pelicans vs Thunder predictions

My best bet
Over 211.5 (-110 at DraftKings)

My analysis
The New Orleans Pelicans got to the free throw line at the eighth-highest rate in the NBA across the season’s final six weeks. The Oklahoma City Thunder sent opponents to the line at the ninth-highest rate.

But then New Orleans took only nine free throws on Sunday.

Instinct is to ascribe that to a more physical playoff atmosphere. Officials do not call as many fouls. And to some extent, that is true, or at least true enough, but in the six series that have played two games, they've averaged 43.1 free throws per game. The Pelicans and Thunder tallying 22 combined was an outlier, and it was an outlier that should be ignored tonight.

One game — even one playoff game — does not change what we know about these teams. We have a full season of information to rely on.

Yet, sportsbooks have dropped the Game 2 total by five points compared to where the total closed for Game 1. Nothing from Sunday night should change information by five points. The game ended 94-92, but if New Orleans and OKC had taken their average number of free throws, that would have added 16 more expected points.

That would have still been well short of the total of 216.5, as well as tonight’s 211.5-point mark, but would the total have moved as much if that final score had cracked 200? And even shooting their average number of free throws would have been two shots fewer than the averages in those other series.

Dropping this total so much has been an overreaction. And it ignores the distinct possibility tonight’s officiating crew tilts the other direction from Sunday’s.

Pelicans vs Thunder same-game parlay (SGP)

Over 212

Brandon Ingram Under 19.5 points 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Over 28.5 points

Brandon Ingram scored just 12 points on 17 shots in Game 1, the third time in four games since he returned from a bone bruise on his knee that Ingram has struggled. He's averaged 15 points in his four games back, shooting just 43.1% from the field on 14.5 shots per game.

Continuing to doubt him might hurt your basketball soul, but it's the appropriate move until Ingram the traditional scorer regains his groove.

Even when he's at his finest, he doesn't take many free throws. His free throw rate plummeted this season as New Orleans developed a more balanced offense, taking only 4.8 per game this season. So if the Over cashes because of officiating, that does not mean Ingram will enjoy an influx.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, however, would. He took 7.8 free throws per game in the final six weeks of the regular season, a subset even more applicable in this conversation than usual given how the NBA altered officiating after the All-Star Break. Before the break, he was taking 9.1 free throws per game.

A generous whistle tonight could elevate him to that rate again tonight.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

Pelicans vs Thunder odds

Pelicans vs Thunder live odds

Get the latest Pelicans vs Thunder NBA playoff odds for Game 2.

Pelicans vs Thunder opening odds

  • Spread: New Orleans +8.5 | Oklahoma City -8.5
  • Moneyline: New Orleans +290 | Oklahoma City -400
  • Over/Under: Over 213.5 | Under 213.5

Pelicans vs Thunder spread and Over/Under analysis

  • To further the curiosity of tonight’s lowered total, the spread opened with the Thunder favored by 8.5 points, the same number Game 1 closed at. Adjusting one piece of the odds board but not the other is unorthodox.

  • The spread fell to -7.5 early on Monday afternoon, a reasonable adjustment after how close Game 1 was.

  • The total opened at 213.5, a notable enough move off Game 1’s closing number to raise an eyebrow, and then steamed down to 211 late on Monday afternoon.

Pelicans vs Thunder trend

The Pelicans are 9-3 against the spread on the road since March 1. Find more NBA betting trends for Pelicans vs. Thunder.

Pelicans vs Thunder game info

Location: Paycom Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Date: Wednesday, 4-24-2024
Tip-off: 9:30 p.m. ET
TV: TNT, truTV

Pelicans vs Thunder latest injuries

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