Update: Jokic has officially been ruled out, and the lines are going to likely settle here barring some major betting movement late. The Nuggets are 3.5-point favorites and we’ll roll with the home team on that number. The total is now 224 and we’ll maintain our pick on the under.
Update: Jokic has been deemed a game-time decision on the first night of a back-to-back and the line has closed to suggest he’s not going to suit up. The line is now Nuggets -4 and we’ll actually flip our pick to Denver at this number, even if Jokic is ruled out. The total comes in at 224.5 and we’ll maintain our selection on the under there.
The New Orleans Pelicans (38-38) will meet the Denver Nuggets (51-24) Thursday evening in a matchup which will impact the bottom of the West playoff picture. The Pelicans are in the thick of the play-in tournament, while the Nuggets have won their last four and sit atop the conference.
The Pelicans have a clean injury report on the day-to-day front, but remain without Zion Williamson. For the Nuggets, MVP big man Nikola Jokic is questionable with a calf injury.
The Nuggets are 6-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. The total comes in at 226.5. Denver is -245 on the moneyline while New Orleans is +205.
Pelicans vs. Nuggets, 10 p.m. ET
Pick ATS: Pelicans +6
With Jokic’s status up in the air, the Pelicans are the better option here. New Orleans initially struggled with Williamson out, but has actually covered in five of its last six games. The Nuggets have covered in four of their last six but had their superstar center for each contest. If Jokic does suit up, this thinking could change given Denver’s impressive 21-14-1 ATS mark as a home favorite. The Pelicans are 8-17-1 ATS as an away underdog, but should be able to keep it close if the Nuggets are without Jokic.
Over/Under: Under 226.5
The Pelicans rank seventh in the league in scoring over the last five games, and the Nuggets aren’t too shabby at 14th overall. However, these teams have just been cashing on unders too frequently lately to consider taking the over. New Orleans has gone under its totals in six of the last seven games and Denver has hit the under in five of the last six, with the lone exception being a push. If Jokic is absent, this total will dip a bit but the under should still remain the play.