The Los Angeles Lakers travel to New Orleans to face the Pelicans in a crucial matchup for playoff positioning. The Pelicans hold a slim lead over the Lakers in the standings and aim to solidify their place. Let’s leverage AI models, analyze team trends, and consider injuries to make the most informed prediction for this exciting NBA game.

AI Model Consensus:

  • BetQL: New Orleans Pelicans -2
  • ESPN: New Orleans Pelicans -1.5
  • SportsLine: New Orleans Pelicans -1.5
  • CBS Sports: New Orleans Pelicans 58.3% win probability (predicted score: New Orleans Pelicans 115 – Los Angeles Lakers 110)
  • FiveThirtyEight: New Orleans Pelicans 56% win probability

The AI models favor the Pelicans by an average of -1.4 points, which is almost identical to the current spread (-1).

Pythagorean Theorem Perspective:

Expected wins/losses based on points scored and allowed provide some context:

  • Los Angeles Lakers: 45.2 wins, 36.8 losses
  • New Orleans Pelicans: 47.8 wins, 34.2 losses

The Pelicans’ record is closer to their Pythagorean projection compared to the Lakers, who have slightly exceeded expectations.

Injury Report:

  • Los Angeles Lakers: Anthony Davis (back), Christian Wood (knee), and Jarred Vanderbilt (foot) are all questionable. Davis’ absence would be a significant blow to their scoring and interior defense.
  • New Orleans Pelicans: No major injuries reported.

Trend Watch:

Recent form is on opposite ends of the spectrum:

  • Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers have won their last 2 games.
  • New Orleans Pelicans: The Pelicans have won 4 of their last 5 games, playing with a balanced attack led by Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum.

Home Court Advantage:

The Pelicans have a strong 21-19 home record this season.

Recent News:

The Lakers are dealing with injuries and questions about their overall chemistry. The Pelicans are excited about their playoff positioning and playing with confidence.


Considering all factors, our projected score is:

New Orleans Pelicans 112 – Los Angeles Lakers 104


  • The Pelicans’ recent form, balanced scoring attack, and home-court advantage give them a slight edge.
  • Anthony Davis’ potential absence from the Lakers would be a major setback.
  • The point spread (-1) seems fair, potentially favoring the Pelicans by a few more points if Davis sits out.
  • The total score (224.5) might be slightly high depending on the Lakers’ offensive output without Anthony Davis.

Caveats and Considerations:

  • The availability and effectiveness of Anthony Davis will be the biggest factor influencing the outcome.
  • The Lakers might be motivated to play with a sense of urgency to avoid falling further in the playoff race.

Beyond the Numbers:

While AI models and analytics offer valuable insights, intangibles like LeBron James willing his team to victory and the Pelicans potentially overlooking the Lakers due to their recent struggles can influence the outcome. The Pelicans’ overall balance and home court edge might be enough to overcome a shorthanded Lakers team.

Pick: Take the New Orleans Pelicans -1 point. ***LOSE***