Lakers vs Pelicans NBA Free Pick & Prediction [Play-In]

LA Lakers (47-35) at New Orleans (49-33)
When: Tuesday, April 16th 2024
Where: Smoothie King Center,
New Orleans, LA

Time: 7:30 ET | TV: TNT
Opening Odds: New Orleans -1/228.5

The New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers just played their regular season finale on Sunday and will rematch on Tuesday night with much more at stake. L.A. throttled the Pelicans in New Orleans on Sunday and will look to do the same in the first Play-In game of the 2024 NBA Playoffs. The winner of the contest will earn the No. 7 seed and will advance to play the second-seeded Denver Nuggets in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. The loser will get a second chance on Friday to make the field when its play-in opponent will be the Golden State Warriors or Sacramento Kings.

The Lakers led by as many as 32 points before eventually winning 124-108 on Sunday. L.A. also beat the Pelicans by 44 points Dec. 7 and won three of this season’s four matchups. Of the remaining 20 teams still playing, only the Atlanta Hawks have a worse home record than New Orleans (21-19). The Pelicans have dropped each of their last five games at Smoothie King Center and one win would have avoided this Play-In game with the Lakers. New Orleans will enter Tuesday’s contest as a 1-point favorite with a total of 223.5.


LeBron James was at his best on Sunday, recording 28 points, a season-high 17 assists, 11 rebounds and five steals during the easy win. Anthony Davis had 30 points on 13-of-17 shooting along with 11 rebounds before leaving with back spasms in the fourth quarter. Davis, listed as questionable but assured everyone that there’s no way he’s going to sit this one out. All five starters scored in double-digits on Sunday including an efficient 20 points from Austin Reaves.


New Orleans got good news on Sunday with the return of forward Brandon Ingram (left knee) after a 12-game absence. He logged 23 minutes and scored 13 points and figures to play more minutes on Tuesday. CJ McCollum (25 points) recorded his seventh straight game of 25 or more points including topping 30 on four occasions. Zion Williamson had just 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting while often being guarded by James.

I predicted the Lakers would cover the spread in Sunday’s game and I’m going to back them again. New Orleans doesn’t match up well with the L.A. and have been blown out by them three times this season. The Lakers are playing well right now and should be able to handle a team that can’t win at home.

Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today.

Pick: Lakers +1