Nuggets vs. Pelicans Predictions, Odds, Preview

Mar. 26, 2021
by Jonathan Willis
NBA Expert

Denver was active at the NBA trade deadline on Thursday. The Nuggets brought in JaVale McGee from Cleveland and acquired Aaron Gordon from Orlando.

Both players are expected to immediately make a difference as Denver looks to move into the top four in the Western Conference. There’s a good chance the Nuggets pass the Los Angeles Lakers soon due to that team’s injury woes, and they can get within a game of the Lakers with a win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.

Nuggets vs. Pelicans Betting Resources

Betting Odds - Nuggets vs. Pelicans

Line Movements

Subject to Change

  • Spread: Nuggets -2
  • Money-Line: Denver -130, New Orleans +110
  • Total: 231

The Pelicans defeated the Nuggets at Ball Arena on Sunday, 113-108 as 6.5-point underdogs. (AP)

Nuggets vs. Pelicans Current Form-Last Game

New Orleans has been two steps forward and two steps back for most of the year. The Pelicans were 11-12 on February 9, and they are 8-12 since that point. They have shown what they are capable of with wins over Utah, Denver, and both Los Angeles teams over those last 20 games though.

The Pelicans have won three straight home games. They hammered Cleveland in their second game after the All-Star Break, and they dismantled the Clippers two nights later. New Orleans took a three-game road trip afterwards before returning home to beat the Lakers 128-111 on Tuesday.

Brandon Ingram had a monster performance against his former team. Ingram scored a season-high 36 points on 14 of 21 shooting. Zion Williamson went 9 of 13 for 27 points with nine rebounds and five assists in one of his best performances yet.

Denver has won nine of its last 12 games. The Nuggets have put some distance between themselves and other teams in the playoff race. They had won eight out of nine at one point in this stretch, but the Pelicans knocked them off 113-108 on Sunday night.

Ingram and Williamson both had 30 points in the victory. Williamson was much more efficient and got to the free throw line 14 times, but Ingram had eight assists. Nikola Jokic posted a triple-double in the loss with 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.

The Nuggets responded with a win over Orlando on Tuesday night before falling 135-111 to Toronto the next evening. Will Barton went 0-8 from the field and no Denver player had more than 20 points in the loss.

Nuggets vs. Pelicans Head-to-Head

  • Mar. 21, 2021 - Pelicans 113 at Nuggets 108, New Orleans +6.5, Under 230

(SU-Straight Up, ATS - Against the Spread, OU - Over-Under)

Denver Nuggets Betting Outlook

Inside the Stats (2020-2021)

  • Overall: 26-18 SU, 20-24 ATS, 27-17 OU
  • Road: 14-9 SU, 12-11 ATS, 14-9 OU

Jokic is a triple-double monster. The Denver big man is averaging 27.0 PPG, 11.3 RPG, and 8.5 APG on the season. He might be the favorite to win the NBA MVP with Joel Embiid, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving all hurt, and he leads the league with a 31.83 PER.

Jokic is incredibly efficient. He is making 57.1% of his field goals and 42.1% of his threes this year. Jokic has hit at that percentage or higher for five straight games, and he already has three triple-doubles in March.

Jamal Murray is the second-best scorer on the team. Murray is averaging 21.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 4.8 APG on the year. His shooting percentages are solid, but he doesn’t get to the free throw line as often as other top guards.

Denver dealt Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton, and a 2025 protected first-round pick to Orlando for Gordon and Gary Clark. Harris has missed over half the Nuggets’ games with a thigh injury, while Hampton was unable to crack the rotation on a regular basis. That means Denver should improve significantly with Gordon on the roster.

Gordon is averaging 14.6 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 4.2 APG. He hasn’t been an extremely efficient shooter, making 43.7% of his field goals and 37.5% of his threes. However, he has the potential to thrive with Denver as the third or fourth option. That could make Gordon a very valuable deadline addition.

New Orleans Pelicans Betting Outlook

Inside the Stats (2020-2021)

  • Overall: 19-24 SU, 20-23 ATS, 30-13 OU
  • Home: 13-10 SU, 11-12 ATS, 19-4 OU

New Orleans dealt J.J. Redick at the trade deadline, parting ways with one of the best perimeter shooters of the last decade. Redick has not been as efficient as he usually is this season, making just 36.4% of his threes.

The Pelicans also dealt Nicolo Melli to Dallas in exchange for James Johnson and Wes Iwundu, so no one else is expected to make a serious impact for either team.

Williamson is having a strong sophomore season. He is averaging 25.7 PPG and 7.0 RPG. The Duke product is hitting 62.1% of his field goals, leading to him having a team-high 27.34 PER.

We are seeing him live up to the promise that made him arguably the most hyped high school prospect since James, and he has at least 27 points in five straight games.

Ingram is second on the Pelicans with 24.2 PPG. He is contributing by adding 5.1 RPG and 4.7 APG too, but he isn’t as efficient of a scorer as Williamson. Ingram is making 47.9% of his field goals and 38.1% of his threes on the year, and he is the best free throw shooter on the team (88.2%).

Nickeil Alexander-Walker has emerged as a solid option at guard for the Pelicans. His overall shooting numbers aren’t great, but he has come on strong with some nice performances in recent weeks.

Alexander-Walker had 20 points against the Nuggets and 18 points against the Lakers, making at least 50% of his shots in both games.

Key Injuries

Denver Nuggets

  • SF Aaron Gordon: Trade - Questionable
  • C Javale McGee: Trade - Questionable
  • PG Monte Morris: Quadricep - Questionable

New Orleans Pelicans

  • PG Lonzo Ball: Hip - Questionable

Nuggets vs. Pelicans Prediction

New Orleans won the previous meeting between these two teams, but Denver is even better now with the addition of Gordon and McGee. The Nuggets now have two other players that can thrive on the inside aside from Jokic, so Denver is the play.

Score Prediction: Nuggets 118, Pelicans 111
Best Bet: Denver -2