LeBron James and Zion Williamson are set to collide for just the third time when the Los Angeles Lakers host the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. In the first game, on Feb. 25 of last season, James outscored Williamson, 40-29, as the Lakers won 118-109. In the rematch five days later, Williamson outscored James, 35-34, but the Pelicans still lost 122-114. Friday's third meeting between the former No. 1 overall picks pits a Lakers team (10-3) that has won four straight against a Pelicans team (4-6) that has lost four straight.
Tip-off is at 10 p.m. ET. William Hill Sportsbook lists Los Angeles as a nine-point favorite, while the over-under, or total number of points William Hill thinks will be scored, is 220 in the latest Lakers vs. Pelicans odds. Before making any Pelicans vs. Lakers picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it returned over $5,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks last season. The model is up nearly $8,100 over the past two-plus seasons. Dating back to last season, it is also on a stunning 67-38 roll on top-rated picks against the spread, returning almost $2,500 on those selections alone. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Lakers vs. Pelicans spread: Los Angeles -9
- Lakers vs. Pelicans over-under: 220 points
- Lakers vs. Pelicans money line: Los Angeles -440, New Orleans +360
- LA: Lakers lead the league in defensive efficiency (104.4 points per 100 possessions)
- NO: Pelicans lead the league in rebounding percentage (54.4)
Why the Lakers can cover
Los Angeles has dominated the recent series against New Orleans. The Lakers have won six straight games over the Pelicans, with the average margin of victory being 10.8 points. New Orleans hasn't beaten Los Angeles since Feb. 23, 2019. Adding to the Pelicans' problems is that, since the teams last met, the Lakers roster has improved significantly. Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, Wesley Matthews and Marc Gasol have helped give the champs the quality depth they didn't have last season.
In addition, Los Angeles will face a New Orleans team without starting point guard Lonzo Ball. The former Lakers guard and UCLA star did not play in Wednesday's loss to the Clippers with bilateral knee tendinopathy and has been ruled out for Friday night. He is averaging 12.4 points, 4.4 assists and 4.3 rebounds this season. New Orleans guard Eric Bledsoe (eye) is questionable.
Why the Pelicans can cover
Brandon Ingram is having another stellar season. The 23-year-old, 6-foot-7 forward ranks 18th in the league in scoring, averaging 23.8 points a game. Last season's winner of the NBA's Most Improved Player award also averages 7.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. On Friday he gets a chance to showcase his improved skills against the team that traded him for Davis.
In addition, New Orleans has been the league's best rebounding team so far this season. Through four weeks the Pelicans lead the NBA in rebounding percentage (54.4) and defensive rebounding percentage (75.1). They also rank second in offensive rebounding percentage (30.5).
How to make Lakers vs. Pelicans picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, with the teams projected to combine for 217 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits almost 70 percent of the time. You can get that pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Pelicans vs. Lakers? And which side of the spread hits almost 70 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Pelicans vs. Lakers spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks.