Pelicans vs. Cavaliers Prediction: Zion Plays First Road Game

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images Pelicans rookie phenom Zion Williamson came alive in the fourth quarter with a remarkable run in his NBA debut.

The New Orleans Pelicans are 8.5-point favorites over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

New Orleans (18-29) has been rejuvenated by the return of Zion Williamson. The No. 1 overall pick recorded his first career double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes as the Pelicans beat the Celtics 123-108 on Sunday, just hours after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. Point guard Lonzo Ball recorded a career-high 15 assists in against Boston and has recorded double-digit dimes in eight of his past 14 games. The Pelicans won both meetings against the Cavaliers last season and have taken four of the past five in the series.

Cleveland (13-34) is playing the second game of a back-to-back after a 115-100 win over the Pistons on Monday night in Detroit. It snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Cavaliers as their last win came back on Jan. 11 in Denver against the Nuggets. Tristan Thompson had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the win over the Pistons. Thompson has recorded five double-doubles this month. Collin Sexton scored 23 points against Detroit for his ninth 20-point outing of the month while Kevin Love matched a season-high with six 3-pointers and recorded his third straight 20-point performance.

ESPN’s FPI gives New Orleans a 64.6% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Tuesday’s matchup between the Pelicans and Cavaliers. 

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Pelicans vs. Cavaliers Game Details

Date: Tuesday, January 28
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse (Cleveland, Ohio)
TV: FS New Orleans, FS Ohio
Pelicans -8.5
Total: 232.5

*All lines, odds & trends courtesy of FanDuel, Covers, & The Action Network

Key Injuries


  • None


  • PG Brandon Knight (knee) out

Betting Trends

  • Pelicans are 18-29 SU and 23-22-2 ATS this season
  • Cavaliers are 13-34 SU and 20-26-1 ATS this season
  • Over 26-21 in Pelicans games this season
  • Over is 26-21 in Cavaliers games this season

Analysis & Pick

Zion Williamson has been incredibly efficient in his return from a knee injury that cost him the first three months of the season. The No. 1 overall pick has made 24-of-36 shots from the floor over his first three games. The win over Boston was his first career victory.

Cleveland finally snapped a lengthy losing skid in Detroit, but now return home on short rest against a surging Pelicans squad that has won five of their last seven games.

The Over has hit in three Cavs games, mainly because of their inability to guard the arc. Cleveland is ranked 27th in the NBA in 3-point defense (37.1%). That is a matchup nightmare against a New Orleans squad that is ranked fifth in 3-point shooting (37.3%) and made 16-of-36 from behind the arc in the win over the Celtics.

New Orleans definitely has the edge in this game, but the price is too high for me. The Pelicans have not been favored by more than 4.5 points in any game this season and are just 8-9 ATS as a favorite. Cleveland is better than expected on short rest and is 4-4 ATS in the second game of a back-to-back this season. Fade Zion.

PICK: Cavaliers +8.5

READ NEXTCeltics vs. Heat Prediction: How We’re Betting This Eastern Conference Showdown

Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith

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