The New Orleans weren’t intimidated by being an underdog in their first round matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers, dominating from start to finish with a four-game sweep to reach the Western Conference Semifinals. They will be the underdogs once again in the second round, but this time it would be a monumental upset if they can advance again.
New Orleans will travel to face off with the defending champion Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of their second round series. Golden State made it here by cruising past the San Antonio Spurs in five games in their opening round series. The Warriors will be heavily favored to both win this series and capture the first game to jump out to a quick advantage.
The Pelicans have played some really good ball lately, which was a surprise after the team lost star forward DeMarcus Cousins to injury in the middle of the season. Despite the absence of Cousins, the Pelicans have found a groove and would love to put a scare into the Warriors. The first game of the series could be a preview of how this Western Conference semifinal will go in NBA basketball gambling.
Game 1 of this NBA Playoff Series is on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 10:30 p.m. ET Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The contest will be nationally televised on TNT.
We'll have NBA odds at Betcris available for every game of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.
The Warriors have been listed as the eight-point favorites for Game 1, as the oddsmakers don’t believe the Pelicans can pull out another upset against a stiff increase in competition. The betting public believes the spread is too high as the Pelicans have taken in more than 85 percent of the early action to cover the spread.
The scoring total is listed at 222.5 points. The Warriors are one of the most explosive teams in the NBA and they will now face a team that is willing to push the pace with them at times. In the last round, the Spurs were more interested in attacking with their halfcourt offense, which kept the scoring down. The “under” is the more popular choice among gamblers as about 62 percent of the action is on that side of the scoring total.
Golden State is going to be a comfortable favorite on the moneyline to capture Game 1. New Orleans was the underdog in both of their road games in the opening round against Portland and pulled out wins each time.
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Warriors star point guard Stephen Curry missed the final portion of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs with a sprained MCL. He is on the comeback trail as the former league MVP has been practicing with his teammates and shooting around before games. Curry is reportedly going to be re-evaluated on Friday and is could return to the court at some point in this series.
Keep an eye on if that comes in Game 1, as his return would certainly be a big boost for Golden State and would have an effect on the spread. The Warriors are still dangerous offensively as Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are elite scorers in their own right, but the presence of Curry makes this team one of the best of all-time.
In all reality Golden State would likely win this series whether Curry plays or not, but he also needs to get up to speed so there is no rust in the expected titanic showdown with the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals.
Player To Watch
Anthony Davis – The Warriors clearly have the advantage on the outside, as the trio of Durant, Curry and Thompson makes it impossible for other teams to keep them at bay for long. In order for the Pelicans to remain competitive in this series, they will need a humongous series from their star big man.
Davis was an MVP candidate during the regular season and turned in a stellar first round of the playoffs, averaging 33.0 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game against the Trail Blazers.
Davis needs to dominate down low on offense as well as protect the rim on defense so New Orleans’ perimeter defenders can stick to their shooters. It’s a lot to ask of one player but Davis has the supernatural talent to dominate. Keep an eye on how he looks in Game 1.
Free NBA ATS Picks
The Pelicans enter playing extremely well, rolling off four straight wins over the Blazers to cruise into the second round. However, the Warriors are a different animal. If Curry can play in Game 1, it will be impossible for the Pelicans to defend all of Golden State’s weapons.
The belief, though, is that Curry sits for at least another few games, and the lack of a third elite option will keep this game reasonably close. The Warriors should win Game 1 but the Pelicans are the choice to cover the spread. The “under” should be considered as the teams will be feeling each other out in this game and there might be some wrinkles that work defensively in NBA basketball betting lines.
NBA ATS Pick: Warriors 109, Pelicans 102