Pelicans vs. Nuggets NBA expert prediction and odds for Friday, Jan. 12 (Take Denver at home)

New Orleans has been one of the most profitable ATS teams in the NBA. Can the Pelicans cover tonight in Denver against the defending champions? 

Jan 10, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) on the bench.
Jan 10, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) on the bench. / Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans west coast road trip has started with back-to-back blowout victories. The Pelicans cruised past the Sacramento Kings, 133-100, before handing the Golden State Warriors their second-biggest loss in the Steph Curry era, 141-105. New Orleans has won seven consecutive road games since falling to the Lakers on Dec. 7 in Las Vegas. Can the Pelicans, winners of six of their last seven, keep it rolling against the defending champions on Friday? 

Denver is coming off a 13-point loss in Utah on Wednesday, but the Nuggets return to Ball Arena, where they are 15-4 this season. Here’s everything to know before betting on tonight’s matchup. 

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Pelicans vs. Nuggets odds, spread and total

Pelicans vs. Nuggets how to watch

  • Date: Friday, Jan. 12 
  • Game time: 10 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Ball Arena
  • How to watch (TV): ESPN
  • New Orleans Pelicans record: 23-15
  • Denver Nuggets record: 26-11

Pelicans vs. Nuggets injury reports

New Orleans Pelicans injury report

  • Trey Murphy III (knee): questionable
  • CJ McCollum (ankle): questionable
  • Brandon Ingram (Achilles): questionable
  • Zion Williamson (quad): questionable 

Denver Nuggets injury report

  • Julian Strawther (knee): out

Pelicans vs. Nuggets key players to watch

New Orleans Pelicans

Jonas Valanciunas: One of the only key players for New Orleans not nursing an injury, the veteran center is averaging 14.2 points per game and ranks 14th in the NBA in rebounding (9.7). Anytime you’re lined up against Denver, the matchup to watch revolves around defending Nikola Jokic. The Joker has posted two triple-doubles against New Orleans this year, averaging 30.5 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists. Valanciunas scored 36 points on 15-of-28 shooting over the last two games. 

Denver Nuggets 

Reggie Jackson: The Boston College product has seen an uptick in minutes, logging over 20 in back-to-back games for the first time since mid-December. Jackson struggled against the Jazz (5 points on 2-of-7 shooting), but in Denver’s last two home games, he put up double figures, scoring 24 combined points on 10-of-19 shooting to go with 12 assists and 6 rebounds. 

Pelicans vs. Nuggets prediction and pick

New Orleans has played so well on the road this season, but a peak at the Pelicans’ injury report is cause for concern. Overall, there are four players with questionable tags for Friday’s matchup that combine for 77.2 points, 18.4 rebounds, and 17.1 assists per game. That quartet combined for 62 points in the Pelicans’ blowout of Golden State.

Given New Orleans’ health concerns and Jokic’s recent dominance of the Pelicans, take Denver to bounce back with a victory Friday night. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.