Bucks vs. Pelicans NBA expert prediction and odds for Thursday, March 28 (Trust the Pels)

Betting odds, pick and prediction for the Milwaukee Bucks-New Orleans Pelicans matchup on Thursday night.

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson. / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans are in a battle for the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, and they’d love to make up some ground with a win over the Eastern Conference’s No. 2-seeded team, the Milwaukee Bucks, on Thursday. 

This is the only nationally televised NBA game on the two-game slate (it’ll be on NBA TV), so all eyes will be on Zion Williamson and company, who are fresh off of a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder as home underdogs. 

Unfortunately, the Pels find themselves right back in that spot against a Bucks team that lost in double overtime to the LeBron James-less Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. 

With the Bucks still not locked in at the No. 2 spot, how should we bet on this game?

If you’re looking to bet on this Pelicans-Bucks matchup, Bet365 is the place to do it! For a limited time, new bettors in Louisiana will receive $150 in bonus bets if they simply place a $5 wager with Bet365. That’s an unbelievable offer!

Here’s a look at the odds from Bet365 and my favorite bet in this matchup: 

Bucks vs. Pelicans odds, spread and total


  • Bucks -2.5 (-110)
  • Pelicans +2.5 (-110)


  • Bucks: -130
  • Pelicans: +110


  • 224 (Over -110/Under -110)

Bucks vs. Pelicans how to watch

  • Date: Thursday, March 28
  • Time: 8:00 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Smoothie King Center
  • How to watch (TV): NBA TV
  • Bucks record: 46-26
  • Pelicans record: 44-28

Bucks vs. Pelicans injury reports

Bucks injury report

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo – probable
  • MarJon Beauchamp – probable
  • Patrick Beverley – out
  • Jaylin Galloway – out
  • Chris Livingston – out
  • Khris Middleton – probable
  • Ryan Rollins – out
  • TyTy Washington – out

Pelicans injury report

  • Jose Alvarado – questionable
  • Dyson Daniels – out
  • Brandon Ingram – out
  • Malcolm Hill – out
  • Dereon Seabron – out
  • EJ Liddell – out
  • Cody Zeller – available

Bucks vs. Pelicans key players to watch

Milwaukee Bucks

Damian Lillard: The Bucks guard is coming off a 9-for-28 shooting night in the loss to the Lakers, and now he has to face one of the best defenses in the NBA this season. Dame had 26 points in a 24-point win over the Pelicans earlier this season, but he’s shot just 13-for-40 in his last two games and 42.5 percent from the field on the season. He needs to be a little more efficient for the Bucks to make another leap as one of the league’s top teams. 

New Orleans Pelicans

Zion Williamson: With Brandon Ingram dealing with an injury, former No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson is on a tear, averaging 26.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game over his last nine contests. Zion has really been great in his last two games, posting stat lines of 36 points, seven rebounds and six assists and then 29 points, five rebounds and 10 assists for the Pelicans. 

Bucks vs. Pelicans prediction and pick

This is undoubtedly a tough matchup for the Pelicans, but it’s one that I believe they can at least cover the spread in. 

New Orleans may be undervalued by some people this season, as the team is No. 11 in offensive rating, No. 6 in defensive rating and No. 4 overall in net rating in the 2023-24 campaign. For comparison, the Bucks are ninth in the NBA in net rating.

New Orleans’ defense will be the key in this one, as the team doesn’t have as much offensive firepower as it would like when Ingram sits. 

The Bucks, however, have struggled on the rod, going 15-16-1 against the spread as road favorites. New Orleans (5-4 ATS as home dogs) did lose outright in its last home game, but the team is seventh in the league in ATS record overall at home this season, going 19-15. 

After watching the Bucks lose to a short-handed Lakers team, I think New Orleans is worth a shot as an underdog tonight. 

Pick: Pelicans +2.5 (-110)

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Find Peter Dewey's NBA betting record here (futures included). You can also follow my daily plays on BetStamp here.