Most people expected the Golden State Warriors to walk right through the New Orleans Pelicans in this series. And to be fair, the Warriors are up two games to zero, but the Pelicans proved in game two that they are here to compete. Golden State was on upset alert all night long as the Pelicans refused to just go away on the road. In the end, The Warriors took the game and a 2-0 lead in the series and now the series shifts to New Orleans.
After a disastrous game one that saw the Pelicans get blown out by twenty-two points, game two was much more competitive. Rajon Rondo had a strong game, going for twenty-two points, seven rebounds, and twelve assists. Anthony Davis had his normal MVP-esque game and Jrue Holiday finally got back on track after no-showing game one. But even with all their best guys playing at their best, the Pelicans couldn’t pick up the upset win. Now that the series heads to New Orleans, the Pelicans find themselves in a must-win position tonight. The Warriors are -5-point road favorites. The game total over-under is set at 232 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 PM PST from the Smoothie King Center in the Big Easy.
The Warriors eased Steph Curry back into the lineup in game one, bringing in the former MVP off the bench. Curry played just twenty-seven minutes, but his presence was certainly felt as he scored twenty-eight points on five of ten shooting from three-point land. Curry’s health is the biggest question mark of all in this series. If he is fully healthy, the Pelicans have very little chance to win the series. If he is limited and coming off the bench like he was in game two, or even not on the floor like in game one, the Pelicans have a shot at shocking the world.
Game three is always going to be a decisive game. But when one team is up two games, it is an absolute must win for the other team. If New Orleans loses tonight at home, their season is all but over. Even with that much incentive to fight hard and having their backs against the wall, the Pelicans are still big underdogs in this game. This number opened at the Warriors -4.5-points and after the early money has come in, now sits at Warriors -5 points.
Part of that is that the Warriors have always been a public team and have a big following. So, their numbers are always going to be a little skewed. And part of that is that this is New Orleans first time making a deep run in the playoffs and people don’t know if they can be trusted or not. Well, I trust them. Maybe not all of them, but certainly Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo.
Davis is amongst the top five players in the league and has been on another level since losing fellow big man DeMarcus Cousins early in the year. The Brow has shown he can carry this team, and single handily win a game for them. I expect to see the best Davis we have seen all playoffs long tonight in game three. As for Rondo? He is the straw that stirs the drink, the glue that holds everything together, this year in the New Orleans. His numbers don’t always pop out at you like Davis’ do, but when he doesn’t play well, this team has no chance to win against a good team.
We saw that in game one when Rondo struggled, and the Pelicans got blown out. And we saw that in game two when Rondo flirted with a triple-double, and the Warriors almost got upset. Rondo knows what it takes to win in the playoffs from his time in Boston, and I expect a transcendent game from him tonight.
Will the Pelicans win tonight and make a series out of this game? I am not completely sure to be honest. If I had to take a hard stance, I would lean towards them winning tonight. I just feel like they are going to find a way to get it done and win at least one game in this series. But with the line where it stands, I don’t have to take a hard stance. I can snatch up all those points and just hope for a close game. So, that is what I will do.
The current line is Warriors -5 at -115. Which means the books are trying to get action the other way to keep their books even and decided to bump the number from -4.5 at -110 to the current number. I’ll gladly take the extra half of a point for five cents in juice. There is a decent chance this number continues to move towards Golden State. If you like the Pelicans, I would lay down a small bet at the current price and monitor this line as it could get to -5.5 or -6, or at least end up where you get the current -5 at -110 and not -115.
Those small changes in the number may seem inconsequential, but it is the little things that are the difference between a long-term winning handicapper and a long-term loser. Do your homework and study your lines and make sure when you are making a bet, you get the best value that you can. Give me the New Orleans Pelicans at home getting five points tonight!