Despite the absence of leading scorer Zion Williamson (hamstring), the eighth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans are looking to stun the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder when they meet in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round matchup on Sunday. The Pelicans (49-33), who were 30-22 against conference foes during the regular season, have won six of the past seven games played in Oklahoma City since December 2020, including a 110-106 win on Nov. 1 this season. The Thunder (57-25), who were 36-16 against conference opponents in 2023-2024, finished the season red hot, winning five in a row. Oklahoma City is 57-25 on its home court since the start of last season, including 33-8 this year.

Tip-off from Paycom Center in Oklahoma City is set for 9:30 p.m. ET. The Thunder are 8.5-point favorites in the latest Pelicans vs. Thunder odds from SportsLine consensus, while the over/under for total points scored is 215.5. Before making any Thunder vs. Pelicans picks, you'll want to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters the 2024 NBA playoffs on a sizzling 88-58 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning more than $2,600. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Pelicans vs. Thunder and just locked in its picks and NBA playoff predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model's picks. Here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Thunder vs. Pelicans:

  • Pelicans vs. Thunder spread: Oklahoma City -8.5
  • Pelicans vs. Thunder over/under: 215.5 points
  • Pelicans vs. Thunder money line: New Orleans +275, Oklahoma City -348
  • NO: The Pelicans are 6-0 in their last six games on the road
  • OKC: The Thunder are 4-1 ATS in their past five games
  • Pelicans vs. Thunder picks: See picks at SportsLine

Why the Thunder can cover

Power forward Chet Holmgren started all 82 games this season. He has reached double-digit scoring in four of the past five games, including registering a double-double in a 121-118 win at Charlotte on April 7. In that game, he scored 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked three shots, dished out two assists, and made two steals. He is averaging 16.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.3 blocks in 29.4 minutes. In three games against New Orleans, he averaged 18.3 points and 11 rebounds with 2.3 assists and two blocks.

Shooting guard Josh Giddey also provides the Thunder with offense. In 80 games, all starts, he is averaging 12.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 25.2 minutes. He surpassed those totals against the Pelicans. In three games against New Orleans, he averaged 14.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists. He posted a triple-double and two double-doubles over his final five regular-season games. In the win over Charlotte on April 7, he scored 20 points, while adding 13 assists and 13 rebounds. See which team to pick here

Why the Pelicans can cover

Center Jonas Valanciunas has played well against Oklahoma City this season. In three games against the Thunder, he has averaged 13 points, eight rebounds, and one assist, including a 19-point and nine-rebound performance on Nov. 1. In Friday's 105-98 win over Sacramento in the Play-In Tournament, he registered a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. For the season, he started all 82 games and is averaging 12.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 23.5 minutes.

Small forward Herbert Jones has played in 76 games, all starts, and is averaging 11 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals. He has been sharp from the field, connecting on 49.8% of his shots, including 41.8% from 3-point range, and 86.7% from the foul line. He has played even better against Oklahoma City, where he is averaging 11.7 points, four rebounds, two assists and one block. See which team to pick here

How to make Thunder vs. Pelicans picks

SportsLine's model is leaning Over on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 219 points. The model also says one side hits in over 50% of simulations. You can only get the model's pick at SportsLine

So who wins Pelicans vs. Thunder, and which side hits in over 50% of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that has returned more than $2,600 on its NBA picks this season, and find out.