What’s our prediction for Pelicans-Thunder play-in game? Best Bets for April 12

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Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault on the sideline in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Saturday, March 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Wednesday, April 12:

TOP PLAY

The play: NBA play-in game, Pelicans -5.5 over Thunder

The odds/bet: -110

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Our take: It’s the perfect scenario to take the Thunder, and everyone is telling you so. The Pels played one of their worst games in the past month Sunday in their regular-season finale against a Minnesota Timberwolves team that was fighting with one another – literally.

Then on Tuesday, star Zion Williamson comes out and says he’s physically ready to play, but he’ll return when he “feels like Zion” again. In just three days, everything that could possibly go wrong for this team pretty much has.

That’s why the public is all over the Thunder. And that’s where we come in.

Some big money has been placed on New Orleans, moving this line from -5 Tuesday morning to -5.5 to Tuesday night, where it remained into Wednesday afternoon and is stable at just about every book across the board.

In the big picture, however, the Thunder haven’t been all that great as of late. They defeated a Memphis team that had nothing to play for on Sunday, and a Utah team that all but packed it earlier in the week. Prior to that, Oklahoma City lost six of eight games, defeating only lowly Detroit and Portland, and failed to cover in all eight of those games.

The Pelicans have their issues, and Friday might be a tough one once again in Minnesota. But we’ll deal with that when the time comes. For now, this seems like a night in which the Smoothie King Center Crowd gets raucous, and Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum do their thing with the season on the line.

MASTERS CARRYOVER?

The play: RBC Heritage top 20 finish, Collin Morikawa

The odds/bet: -105

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: Thursday through Sunday on Golf Channel, ESPN+ and on Saturday and Sunday on CBS

Our take: Morikawa has been sort of lying in the weeds as of late, playing well, but not quite playing to his prior championship form. This could be the tournament that breaks him out of that and back into one of the game’s premier golfers.

After a 10th-place finish at The Masters last week and two top 13s in his past three outings, Morikawa plays a course that is well suited for being one of the better approach-shot golfers in the PGA. That, and he has a good track record at Hilton Head, finishing 26th and seventh the past two seasons.

We really like him at +200 to finish top 10 and even +1800 to win, but we like playing it safe in best bets and getting him at nearly even money to finish top 20 is great value.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Tuesday’s best bets

NBA play-in: Heat -4.5 over Hawks (LOST)

MLB: Brewers at Diamondbacks under 8 runs (WON)

Tuesday’s record: 1-1

Total for the week: 1-3

Total for April: 8-14

Total for 2023: 73-84

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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