Thunder vs. Pelicans NBA expert prediction and odds for Friday, Jan. 26

Jan 23, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2)
Jan 23, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Thunder continue to push for the best record in the Western Conference with a challenging road test at the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.

The Thunder are a half-game behind the Minnesota Timberwolves for the top spot in the West and now travel to face a Pelicans team that is fresh off an outstanding showing against the Jazz in which the team hung 153 points on Utah at home. Can the Thunder cool the Pelicans off?

Here's how we're betting this marquee matchup on Friday's NBA slate:

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Thunder vs. Pelicans Odds, Spread and Total

Pelicans vs. Thunder Betting Trends

  • The Pelicans are 12-6-1 against the spread (ATS) this season
  • The Thunder are 29-14-1 ATS this season
  • The Thunder are 13-8-1 ATS on the road this season
  • The Pelicans have gone UNDER in 11 of 19 games as an underdog

Thunder vs. Pelcians Injury Reports

Thunder Injury Report

  • Olivier Sarr - OUT

Pelicans Injury Report

  • Zion Williamson - questionable

Thunder vs. Pelcians How to Watch

  • Date: Friday, January 26th
  • Game Time: 8:00 PM EST
  • Venue: Smoothie King Center
  • How to Watch (TV): Bally Sports New Orleans
  • Thunder Record: 31-13
  • Pelicans Record: 26-18

Thunder vs. Pelicans Key Players to Watch


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: The MVP candidate hasn't missed a beat in January, averaging 31 points, grabbing five rebounds, and dishing out six assists while upping his three-point percentage to 35% this month. He's getting to the line a ton as well, taking nearly 11 free throws per game this month.


CJ McCollum: McCollum had a monster game against the Jazz last time out, scoring 33 points on only 17 field goal attempts, and hitting nine threes in the victory. He also had a big outing in the team's lone matchup against Oklahoma City, a four-point win back on November 1st, scoring 29 points.

Thunder vs. Pelicans Prediction and Pick

My favorite look in this one is going to be the over in a game that features two emerging contenders from the Western Conference.

The Pelicans are enjoying a fine stretch of basketball, posting the third-best net rating in the NBA since the start of 2024, +11.0, and winning seven of 11 games, but the season-long metrics point towards the Thunders as a step above.

OKC is second in the NBA in net rating this season, +8.3, bolstered by a versatile and up-tempo attack that features a team that plays at a top-10 pace.

However, the Thunder may be playing into the Pelicans hands-on defense. The team allows the third most three-point attempts per game and the home team is firing from distance, shooting north of 43% from beyond the arc over the last 10 games.

I think the Thunder can push the pace and generate plenty of buckets, but the Pelicans are equipped to hang around, especially from the perimeter. I'll take the over as my favorite bet on Friday night.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.