Pelicans vs. Thunder NBA expert prediction and odds for Game 2 of Western Conference playoffs

Betting odds, pick and prediction for the New Orleans Pelicans' Game 2 matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum (3) drives.
New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum (3) drives. / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best games of the playoff action over the weekend came late Sunday night, as the Oklahoma City Thunder dodged a few bullets (late-game shots) to escape with a two-point win over the New Orleans Pelicans. 

New Orleans was the only road team in the NBA to cover in Game 1 of the playoffs, adding to an extremely impressive against the spread record as a road underdog this season.

Can the Pels do that again on Wednesday?

Oddsmakers have moved this spread one point in favor of the Pels, but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Thunder are still favored. 

With Zion Williamson out, the Pels are going to need players to step up to have a chance to even the series. 

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Let’s break down the latest odds, key players and my best bet for Game 2 on Wednesday night: 

Pelicans vs. Thunder odds, spread and total

Pelicans vs. Thunder how to watch

  • Date: Wednesday, April 24
  • Time: 9:30 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Paycom Center
  • How to watch (TV): TNT
  • Series: Thunder lead 1-0

Pelicans vs. Thunder injury reports

Pelicans injury report

  • Zion Williamson – out
  • Cody Zeller – available

Thunder injury report

  • None to report

Pelicans vs. Thunder key players to watch

New Orleans Pelicans

Trey Murphy III: With Zion Williamson out, Murphy III is being asked to play some major minutes. He played over 44 in Game 1, scoring 21 points on 8-of-18 shooting (5-for-12 from 3) in the Pels’ loss. With Brandon Ingram coming off an injury and Williamson hurt, Murphy has to step up as a scorer for the rest of this series. 

Oklahoma City Thunder

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: The MVP candidate came up clutch in the final minutes for OKC, hitting the go-ahead bucket with a one-handed floater. SGA shot 11-for-24, scoring 28 points in the win, but he has struggled a bit against the Pels this season with how they defend him. OKC will likely rely on SGA heavily as it looks to get its footing in postseason competition. 

Pelicans vs. Thunder prediction and pick

I can’t look past a massive trend that favors the Pelicans, as they are the best team in the NBA as road underdogs this season, going 15-5-1 against the spread. 

Even without Zion, the Pels can lean on their top-10 defense to keep them in this game, especially after holding OKC under 100 points in Game 1. 

Both of these teams struggled offensively, but I think there is a lot more room for improvement on the New Orleans side.

Brandon Ingram shot just 5-for-17 in Game 1 and Herb Jones was 2-for-10, way worse than what they average on the season. As for the Thunder, they didn’t get a ton after Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but the team’s lack of playoff experience is a little concerning when it comes to covering this many points. 

If defense reigns supreme again – the Pels can cover. 

Pick: Pelicans +7.5 (-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.