Rockets vs. Pelicans NBA expert prediction and odds for Thursday, Feb. 22 (Fade Houston on road)

Betting odds, pick and prediction for the Houston Rockets-New Orleans Pelicans matchup in the NBA on Thursday night.

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

For the fourth time this season, the New Orleans Pelicans face off with the Houston Rockets, and New Orleans is hoping to salvage a split in the season series. 

There are some injury concerns for the Rockets on Thursday, as the team entered the break with Cam Whitmore, Fred VanVleet, and Tari Eason all out of the lineup. It’s unclear if some or all of the players will miss Thursday’s game. 

Meanwhile, the Pelicans need to keep stacking wins if they want to avoid the play-in tournament in a crowded Western Conference. 

The Pels currently hold the No. 6 seed in the conference, but they are just one game up on the No. 7-seeded Mavericks and 3.5 games up on the No. 9-seeded Los Angeles Lakers. So, every game counts down the stretch of the regular season. 

Let’s break down the odds and my best bet for this divisional battle on Thursday:

Rockets vs. Pelicans odds, spread and total


  • Rockets +7 (-110)
  • Pelicans -7 (-110)


  • Rockets: +235
  • Pelicans: -290

Total: 226.5 (Over -110/Under -110)

Odds courtesy of Bet365 Sportsbook. 

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Rockets vs. Pelicans how to watch

  • Date: Thursday, Feb. 22
  • Time: 8:00 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Smoothie King Center
  • How to watch (TV): Bally Sports New Orleans, AT&T SportsNet Southwest
  • Rockets record: 24-30
  • Pelicans record: 33-22

Rockets vs. Pelicans injury reports

Rockets injury report

  • Fred VanVleet – day-to-day
  • Reggie Bullock – day-to-day
  • Cam Whitmore – day-to-day
  • Tari Eason – day-to-day
  • Steven Adams – out

Pelicans injury report

  • Dyson Daniels – out
  • Cody Zeller – day-to-day

Rockets vs. Pelicans key players to watch

Houston Rockets

Alperen Sengun: Sengun’s last matchup with New Orleans was a strange one, as he finished with just 10 points but still had a double-double. The Rockets big man had previously dropped 37 and 24 points against New Orleans, and the team will need him to have a big game – especially if VanVleet sits – to win on the road. 

New Orleans Pelicans

Zion Williamson: The former No. 1 overall pick sat out the team’s last game against Houston, but he scored 28 and 24 points in his first two meetings with the Rockets this season. Zion is averaging 22.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game, and he entered the All-Star break on a high note, dropping 36 points in a win over Washington. 

Rockets vs. Pelicans prediction and pick

After a strong start to the season, the Rockets have faded, falling to six games below under .500, and the main reason why is the team’s struggles on the road. 

Houston is just 7-14-1 against the spread as a road underdog (one of the worst marks in the NBA), and the team finds itself set as a heavy underdog in New Orleans. 

Not only that, but VanVleet's status could sway this game, as the Rockets are 1-6 without him this season, with their lone win coming controversially against a depleted New York Knicks team. 

New Orleans is 10-8 against the spread when favored at home, and the team entered the All-Star break with the eighth-best net rating in the NBA over its last 10 games. 

Houston has hung its hat on defense all season, but the squad goes from No. 2 in the NBA in defensive rating at home to No. 17 on the road. 

That discrepancy is way too wide for the team to find any consistency away from Toyota Center, and it’s a big reason why the Rockets have won just five of their 26 road games. 

I’ll gladly lay the points with the Pelicans in this spot. 

Pick: Pelicans -7 (-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.