Portland Trail Blazers vs. New Orleans Pelicans Preview (11/10/22): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

After a 105-95 win over Charlotte, the Portland Trail Blazers (8-3) continue their road trip against the New Orleans Pelicans (6-5). Unfortunately for the Blazers, Damian Lillard is out while Jerami Grant and Jusuf Nurkic are game time decisions. New Orleans will essentially be at full strength, as Larry Nance Jr is the only key player who may not play.

Can Anfernee Simons turn in a Herculean performance? Odds, predictions, key matchups, and starting lineups are below.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. New Orleans Pelicans Betting Odds

Because of injuries, the Pelicans are considerable favorites with the spread being set at -9 Pelicans. Portland’s moneyline can be found at +310, which means they must win 25% of the time to be profitable. The 221.5 over under is one of the largest lines for Thursday games.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. New Orleans Pelicans Prediction

The spread is unattractive, so I am taking the over instead.

At a broader level, the Pelicans rank 3rd in PPG, 2nd in FG%, and 6th in Offensive Rating. Their offense is dynamic in every area, including their bench.

The Blazers allow the 4th most FGA in the restricted area, and this trend would only amplify should Grant and Nurkic be unavailable. Considering the Pelicans roster wrecking ball Zion Williamson (22.7 PPG), it’s a concerning situation. His cat-like agility will circumvent Eubanks’ rim protection, and his strength will brush aside Hart and Winslow with ease. Plus, Valanciunas is a capable player in the paint who owns a solid arsenal of offensive moves. New Orleans has a fantastic chance of utterly dominating the Blazers inside.

Portland also allows the 4th most corner threes, which are highly coveted attempts due to a superb expected points per possession. The Pelicans don’t often shoot corner threes, but they will see a boost here in volume and likely convert them because of their dangerous shooters.

At an individual level, Simons is a poor defender who struggle to survive in both isolation and the pick and roll. CJ McCollum (19.1 PPG) can pick him apart, and New Orleans will attempt to force switches so that Simons also guards Ingram. Look for the Pelicans to shred the Blazers perimeter defense, which will completely stretch out the defense with Zion anchored inside.

I expect the Pelicans to score around 120 points; therefore, the Blazers would need to score 102 points for the over to hit. Can they accomplish this without Lillard (28.6 PPG) and possibly Grant (18.4 PPG) and Nurkic (13 PPG)?

Portland’s offense fundamentally relies on their backcourt and three-point shooting. Lillard (28.6 PPG) is an offensive supernova who possesses the ability to drop 40 points on any given night. It’s a huge blow to lose him, but Simons (22 PPG) is a Lillard clone with a somewhat comparable scoring ceiling. Simons is already attempting 10.1 3PA per game, and that number may jump even further. Shaedon Sharpe – Lillard’s likely replacement – can also get hot from deep, so Portland will maintain its backcourt shooting.

New Orleans allows the 6th most open and wide open (4+ feet from nearest defender) 3PA per game and the 8th most corner 3PA. This defensive fault doesn’t bode well for them considering the Blazers rank 5th in 3PT%. Their backcourt likely rains threes on the Pelicans all game, which significantly boosts the probability that the over hits.

Overall, the game should be high scoring due to the aligned offensive strengths and defensive weaknesses. However, I don’t expect it to obliterate the over under line because of Lillard’s absence. If Grant and Nurkic do play, it doesn’t change my pick because their stronger defense would be countered by their own offensive production.

Betting Trends

  • Over is 12-4 in Pelicans last 16 overall
  • Over is 6-1 in Pelicans last 7 home games
  • Under is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings

Key Matchups

Which team will win the positional matchups? Check out below for these vital battles.

Shaedon Sharpe vs. Trey Murphy III

If the over is going to hit, then it’s crucial that these young players score at a decent rate. Sharpe has flashed early into his rookie season; he’s coming off a 17-point performance versus the Hornets where he was 7 of 10 from the field. Murphy (11.5 PPG), meanwhile, is a catch and shoot savant. The 6’8” wing owns a 43.1 3PT% on 5.3 3PA, and his quick release designates the shot as un-blockable. If he can convert his attempts and scorch the Blazers, then the Pelicans will absolutely rack up points.

Simons Shooting

Simons can scorch opponents from deep, but his consistency isn’t cemented. For the over to hit, Simons must convert his plethora of attempts and exploit McCollum in the pick and roll all night. He will get open looks because of New Orleans’ occasionally suspect defense, so a 40-point performance is assuredly within reach for him. If Simons is cold from three, then it’s unknown how the Blazers can score enough to break 100 points here.

Portland Trail Blazers Starting Lineup

PG: Anfernee Simons
SG: Shaedon Sharpe
SF: Justise Winslow
PF: Josh Hart
C: Drew Eubanks

New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineups

PG: CJ McCollum
SG: Herb Jones
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: Zion Williamson
C: Jonas Valanciunas

Key Injuries

Portland Trail Blazers Injuries: Damian Lillard (O), Jerami Grant (Q), Jusuf Nurkic (Q), Shaedon Sharpe (P), Justise Winslow (P), Gary Payton II (O), Keon Johnson (O), Olivier Sarr (O)

New Orleans Pelicans Injuries: Larry Nance Jr (Q), Kira Lewis Jr (O), EJ Liddell (O)

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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