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Can the Pelicans get revenge against the Pacers?

Layne Murdoch Jr. / National Basketball Association / Getty

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As the calendar flips from February to March, college hoops usually begins to take center stage in the basketball universe. But the NBA isn't going anywhere.

March is the last full month of the NBA regular season, and many games are already starting to feel like the playoffs. We'll continue our daily bets and feature extensive college basketball coverage for the conference and NCAA tourneys.

Let's close the week out strong with a four-play card for Friday's NBA slate.

Pacers @ Pelicans (-5.5, 238.5)

The Pelicans are currently the 6-seed, narrowly avoiding the play-in tournament. That could easily change soon. The Warriors are the 10-seed and just three games behind New Orleans.

The Pelicans - and the rest of the middle of the West - have to treat their remaining games like the playoffs if they want to avoid the pressure-filled play-in tournament.

That starts with avenging their Wednesday road loss to the Pacers with a win at home Friday. The Pelicans have the NBA's sixth-best defensive rating but struggled to stop the Pacers' prolific offense earlier this week.

Indiana's offensive rating drops four points on the road, which should favor New Orleans. The Pelicans can't beat the Pacers in a track meet - Indiana plays with the second-fastest pace - but if they can successfully slow the game down with stiff defense, the Pels should escape with a respectable win.

Pick: Pelicans -5.5

Sixers team total: Over 112.5 points

The Sixers finally have a favorable matchup Friday night against the Hornets. Philadelphia is an 11-point home favorite.

Philly has lost four of its last five and hasn't reached 113 points since Feb. 12. However, the Hornets have the NBA's fourth-worst defensive rating and allow 118 points per game.

The Sixers are a disaster on both ends without Joel Embiid, though they're now desperate for wins to stay out of the play-in tournament until Embiid returns. This is an opportunity to secure a win against a lowly team and a suspect defense.

Odds: -115 (playable to -125)

Buddy Hield: Over 12.5 points

While we're banking on an offensive explosion for the Sixers, let's double down on one particular offensive weapon. Buddy Hield will be essential for the offense to perform at a high level.

Tyrese Maxey needs scoring help. As Tobias Harris remains in a slump for what feels like the 100th time as a Sixer, Philadelphia needs Hield to fill in.

Hield struggled the last two games but scored at least 13 in his previous six. He's a 3-point sniper, and the Hornets have the fifth-worst opponent 3-point percentage and allow the seventh-most 3-point makes per contest.

Odds: -135

De'Aaron Fox: Over 24.5 points

The Timberwolves are an exceptional defensive team, both on the perimeter and around the rim. That's why De'Aaron Fox's point total is slightly lower than usual as the Kings travel to Minnesota for a Friday night showcase.

However, Fox has been on a tear after a brief slump in the middle of February. He's scored at least 27 points in each of the last five games. He's doing that while continuing to struggle with his 3-pointer. Fox would be even more dominant if he could consistently connect from long range.

The Wolves have a stout defense, but Fox scored 27 and 36 in their two meetings this season.

Odds: -120 (playable to -125)

Sam Oshtry is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X @soshtry for more betting coverage.

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