New Orleans Pelicans vs. Phoenix Suns Betting Preview and Prediction
The top-seeded Phoenix Suns entertain the New Orleans Pelicans in the opening contest of the two crews’ first-round Western Conference playoff series Sunday at 9:00 p.m. EST at the Footprint Center. The Suns have gone 32-9 in their own gym this go-round and should be well-rested.
As part of a nine-game win streak last month, Phoenix locked up the top spot on its side of the bracket with a win over Denver on March 24, giving it eight games to let its key players idle in preparation for another deep postseason run. Meanwhile, New Orleans had to survive a pair of elimination struggles just to get to this point.
The Suns came out on the right side of three of the teams’ four encounters this season.
Pelicans Ahead of Schedule
The Pelicans are steered by head coach Willie Green, who was Phoenix’s top assistant a year ago. He quickly brought success to New Orleans, which is in the postseason without either Chris Paul or Anthony Davis for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
Just to secure the right to meet Phoenix, the Pelicans beat some tough odds. They lost 12 of their initial 13 this campaign and had to fight through the play-in tournament. Not to mention, they lucked out when Paul George couldn’t play Friday.
Acquired from Portland as part of a seven-player swap in February, CJ McCollum scored 27 points in the first half of New Orleans’ first preliminary round win, over the Spurs. Against the Clippers, Brandon Ingram’s 30 points helped the Pelicans overcome a double-digit deficit and punch a ticket to the first round.
New Orleans was 17-24 on the road this regular season.
Suns Seek to Continue Winning Ways
With a 64-18 regular season mark, the Suns enter having won eight more games than any other NBA club this schedule. Devin Booker paces the team with 26.8 points per game, while the seasoned and aforementioned Paul doles out 10.8 assists. Phoenix ranked fifth in the league with 114.8 points an outing.
This group knows what it takes to strive forward with high stakes. Not only are the guards back, but other key cogs, such as Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and Cameron Johnson are returners from last year’s team, which reached the NBA Finals.
Read more about Sports Betting in Arizona.
Phoenix Likely to Heat Up
The Suns are marked down as considerable favorites in this one at -580. This compared to the Pelicans -580 slate. The total is set at 224.5.
The Pelicans have been adept at generating second chances, ranking third in offensive boards with a dozen per game. Even if they can stay in stride, they’ll need to do more than just pull down a few extra rebounds against a Phoenix team that knows just when to kick it into gear. The Suns are 33-9 in contests decided in the clutch.
A No. 8 seed hasn’t booted a No. 1 seed in the NBA’s postseason since 2012, when Philadelphia banished Chicago sans Derrick Rose. Such a path won’t begin here. I’m going with Phoenix to cover -10.5.