Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans – NBA, February 3, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| February 3, 2021 2:32 am PDT

The Suns will be hoping to eclipse the Pelicans in this all-Western Conference basketball matchup. Things have certainly tightened up in the West, with the leading trio pulling away from the rest of the pack. This means that just four wins separate the fifth-placed Suns and the second from last Pelicans.

Although the Suns have won four of the past five meetings against the Pelicans, they won’t find life easy as three of those four wins came after overtime.

Here are the match odds, followed by a summary of each team’s trends, strengths, and weaknesses. I will then conclude with my Suns vs. Pelicans betting pick.

Suns vs. Pelicans Odds

Suns (-2.5) -110
Pelicans (+2.5) -110
Suns To Win -130
Pelicans To Win +120
Over 223 Points -110
Under 223 Points -110

Given how close the games are usually between these two teams, the spread looks about right. However, they have a combined total of 237 points over the previous ten meetings between them, so it could be worth checking in on the points total market. But it’s worth bearing in mind that a few of those games went to overtime, which has bumped the average up considerably.

The Pelicans have only won three of the nine matches that they have entered as the betting underdog.

Suns Preview

The Suns ended run of three straight defeats emphatically by winning the next three games in a row. Before their latest win streak, their form had deteriorated badly. However, the last time they won three games in a row this season, they went on to win the next game, so they will be hoping that lightning can strike twice tonight.

They have been involved in some close games as of late, and this game could be no different. This was evident in their last game against the Mavericks, where they hit a winning three-pointer at the death to claim victory 108-109.

They have an excellent record on the road of seven wins and four losses from their 11 games. This includes winning their last three in a row, and they will be hoping to end this road trip on a high tonight before returning to Phoenix for seven games.

Here are the latest betting trends for Phoenix:

Bet Type Trend
Total The total has gone under in 13 of their previous 20 games.
ATS They have won four of the last five against the Pelicans.
ATS Phoenix has won 11 of their previous 15 Road trips.
Total Six of their last eight games played in New Orleans has gone over the betting total.
Total Their games against their Western Conference rivals have generally been low scoring as 12 of the previous 16 matches have gone under the points total.
ATS They have a near-perfect record of 9-1 against teams from the Southwest Division.
SU The Suns have only won six of their last 20 games played in February.

While the Suns don’t have a great offense, it’s not the worst either. They don’t excel in any department, and their stats suggest they are perhaps an average team. They play some nice basketball, and you can often see glimpses of an excellent attack, but you don’t see it often enough for one reason or another.

They need to be better at recycling the ball in attack where they are averaging just eight offensive rebounds per game, the fourth-lowest in the league. If others can follow Center Deandre Ayton’s example, then they might be ok in this department.

They are deadly from the free-throw line scoring at 83%, which is only bettered by the Clippers this season.

However, they do have a good defense that they can rely on. They play a high pressing game that tries to stop their opponents from getting into a rhythm. Rather than trying to steal the ball from their opponents, which most high court pressing teams do, they tend to play a waiting game and try to force their opposition into making their own mistakes.

Veteran Chris Paul, the NBA’s Benjamin Button, keeps getting better and better, it seems. So, what keeps him going? Is it his new plant-based diet? Here he is speaking about the recent diet change in his life.

Unfortunately, the Suns come into this game with a long list of injury concerns. Payne and Saric are out, while Nader and Jones are questionable to play. However, they are hopeful that their match-winner last time out, Booker, can shake off a hamstring problem and will be fit to play.

Pelicans Preview

After a decent start to the season, the Pelicans have struggled badly, winning only three of their last 13 games. The slight positive in that is two of those wins came in their previous four matches. However, they lost their previous two against the Rockets and the Kings, and the concern is that the mini resurgence is over.

At the Smoothie King Center, they have a record of 4-5 from their nine games played there. But again, they have only won two of their previous seven games, so the future looks bleak for New Orleans at present.

Here are the latest betting trends for New Orleans:

Bet Type Trend
ATS They have only won two of their last seven games.
Total Seven of their previous eight games have gone over the betting total.
Total Only one of their last six games against the Suns has failed to go over the points total.
Total The total has gone over in seven of their previous eight home games.
ATS New Orleans has lost their last five games in a row against teams from the Western Conference.
SU They have only won one of their previous ten games against teams based in the Pacific Division.
ATS The Pelicans are 2-4 in their last six games played in February.

The Pelicans offense matches up reasonably well against that of the Suns but is perhaps less well-rounded. They excel in some areas like rebounding but are terrible in others, like shooting from a distance where they have a field goal percentage of 34%.

But it’s not just from distance they lack when you look at their stats from the free-throw line this season. They are scoring at 71%, which is the lowest in the NBA, so it, therefore, pays to play aggressively against them.

While their playing style doesn’t appear to change at home, they average four more points per game. Is this just a coincidence?

Their defense, however, does not match up to that of the Suns and has been somewhat subdued this season. They need to start marking up better, which should lead to more blocks and a more solid defense. They don’t make life difficult enough for their opponents, and offenses come away against them far too often, having had a comfortable night.

One area they will look to dominate against the Suns will be rebounding, and this could be the key to success for them tonight.

With things going so wrong for the Pelicans at present, it seems a change is needed. There appears to be plenty of work going on behind the scenes to get some trades done ASAP.

The Pelicans have two players questionable to play tonight, and they are Adams and Marshall, who both face late fitness tests.

Suns vs. Pelicans Betting Pick

The Pelicans are so bad right now; you have to fancy the Suns to win this. However, it does concern me that they have so many injuries, and having played some tightly contested games recently, they could be slightly tired. With neither team having an offense to write home about, I will take them on and pick under the points total here.

  • Under 223 Points



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