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After Game 1 victory, New Orleans Pelicans favored to win playoff series over Portland Trail Blazers...but not decidedly so

History and current projections aren’t overwhelmingly on the side of away teams after stealing the opening game of a 7-game series.

NBA: Playoffs-New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans hold a 1-0 series lead over the Portland Trail Blazers after their stunning 97-95 victory on Saturday night. While potentially six more games could still be played, history and projection models currently favor the Pelicans to move onto the semifinals of the Western Conference.

According to, NBA teams that win the opening game of a 7-game series go on to take the series 76.6% of the time. Specifically, 393 out of 513 teams have moved on or taken home the trophy after winning the first game. And, if you’re wondering about what the numbers say when factoring only first round 7-game series, the ratio is practically identical: 92-28 (76.7%).

Obviously, it’s a very good thing to win the first game, but before getting too excited, realize history isn’t nearly as supportive of road teams stealing that first game. When away teams have prevailed in openers, they’ve only gone on to win their 7-game series 72 out of 137 chances. That’s just slightly higher than 50/50 (52.6%) and the reasoning for it is simple: teams that start on the road are the lower seed and winning just one game is quite possibly an aberration. One-game flukes happen all the time in sports!

As far as several projection models, they’re a little more optimistic than historical precedence. For instance, is giving the Pelicans a 66% of moving to the next round, while FiveThirtyEight, a 63% chance.

Now, if the Pelicans could also manage to finagle a win in Game 2 on Tuesday evening, then suddenly history says it would be an entirely different ballgame — where Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and company would have an 87.9% chance to advance to the Western Conference semi-finals!

{Insert lots of prayer emojis.}