We all know that the majority of tonight’s betting is going to be done on the NCAAB Sweet 16 games that features a very interesting slate. That being said, sportsbooks are reporting a much higher handle on the NBA and the NHL than they originally expected. In that case, it’s wise to look into a 3/22 NBA free pick between the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans. Oddsmakers have set Thursday night’s line at NO -2, which might seem extremely low if not for the fact that the Pelicans are coming in on a back-to-back-to-back situation after a win over Indiana last night and a makeup game win against Dallas on Tuesday. Is this rare three-in-three situation enough to bank on the Lakers on the road?
Lakers Falling Back Into Line a Bit
The young Los Angeles team looked they were putting things together a bit as the regular season winds down – at one point winning five of seven games. The Lakers have been especially good at home where they are 12-2 over their last 14. Overall however Los Angeles has dropped three games in a row. Plus, the 3/22 NBA free pick is on the road, where LA 13-23 on the season and have lost six of their last nine. The Lakers scoring has really suffered lately as they are putting up just 99 ppg over their last three.
While the Lakers team success has wanted a bit recently, there are some individuals who are playing great basketball right now led by Julius Randle. The big man is playing himself into a huge offseason contract by going for 20+ in 8 of the last 10 while grabbing 9+ rebounds in 7 of those games. Randle is up against Anthony Davis tonight so those numbers could fade. Brook Lopez has also picked up some of the scoring on the post as he’s averaging 20.5 over the last three. This coincides nicely with the Lakers guards going cold. Lonzo Ball, Isaiah Thomas, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have combined to shoot under 30% from the field over the last three contests.
How Do Pelicans Fare in the Back-to-Back-to – Back?
Davis is on a tear with six 25+ point nights in seven games since missing the March 9th matchup with Washington while resting an ankle injury. The Brow should be able to dominate against the Lakers #26 ranked scoring defense, but the big question for the 3/22 NBA free pick is how much Davis is actually going to play? He has logged 35+ minutes in consecutive nights and the Pelicans have matchups with Houston, Portland, Cleveland, and OKC over their next four. Does coach Alvin Gentry sacrifice those tough games and go all out in a winnable contest against LA – or does he give his team such much needed rest before running the gauntlet?
One other major question is if the Pelicans can afford to take even a single night off. New Orleans is in a comfortable spot in the 5th seed of the Western Conference, but they’re only .5 a game behind OKC in having home court advantage in the first round. Plus, the logjam of the West sees just 4 games separating the #4 seed and home court first round and the #10 seed and being out of the postseason altogether.
3/22 NBA Free Pick Betting
If oddsmakers hadn’t made the Pelicans -2 favorites tonight’s contest would be much easier to figure out. 55% of the public are also backing New Orleans at home, where they are 21-15 this year. The Lakers are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 head to head meetings which includes a 22 point loss in their most recent meeting on Valentine’s Day. As it stands, there’s no incentive for the Lakers to ‘tank’ down the stretch as Philadelphia owns their pick at the current draft slot (11th). When you factor in that Los Angeles has two nights of rest and the Pelicans are playing their third game in as many nights, the Lakers are the pick – this is still the NBA after all.
Free Pick: Los Angeles Lakers +2