The Atlanta Hawks (14-15) visit the Charlotte Hornets (7-21) on Friday night. Action tips off at 7:10 pm ET. Below we continue our NBA odds series with a Hawks-Hornets prediction and pick.
Atlanta has lost five of their last six games to drop them to ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks are 11-17-1 against the spread while 59% of their games have gone over. Charlotte has lost six consecutive games to fall to 15th in the East. The Hornets are 12-15-1 against the spread while 54% of their games have gone over. This will be the second of four meetings between the teams this season. Charlotte took the first matchup in October, 126-109.
Here are the Hawks-Hornets NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NBA Odds: Hawks-Hornets Odds
Atlanta Hawks: +3 (-112)
Charlotte Hornets: -3 (-108)
Over: 240 (-110)
Under: 240 (-110)
Why The Hawks Could Cover The Spread
Although they’re still in the mix for a play-in spot, the Hawks will need to turn things around sooner rather than later given their lack of recent success. They’ve won just three games since Thanksgiving thanks to mediocre all-around play. The Hawks are an average offensive team despite a number of notable players, ranking 15th in scoring and 23rd in offensive rating. They’ve not been hampered by their defense but it certainly isn’t doing them any favors as they rank just 19th in points allowed and 17th in defensive rating. The same can be said for their work on the glass where they rank 22nd in both rebound differential and rebound rate. Atlanta will notably be without Clint Capela, John Collins, and Dejounte Murray due to injuries.
First and foremost, the Hawks need Trae Young to return to form if they want to cover against a putrid Hornets team. Putting aside the drama between himself and head coach Nate McMillan, Young just hasn’t been the same guy this season. Young still averages incredible numbers, scoring 26.8 PPG and dishing out 9.9 APG, but his efficiency has been severely lacking. Known for his perimeter shooting, Trae is shooting just 29% from three this season and 41% overall. He’s been particularly inefficient over the last two games, shooting just 11-33 over that span. However, he still finds ways to impact the game when his shot isn’t falling as he’s dished out 30 assists in his last two outings.
If Young is going to continue to struggle with his jumper and focus more on distributing, Atlanta will need another guy to step up and contribute towards the scoring load. In recent games, that guy has been forward De’Andre Hunter. Hunter averages 15.5 PPG while shooting 45% from the field and 37% from three. He’s been particularly impactful lately, averaging 20 PPG in his last three outings.
Bogdan Bogdanovic finds himself in a similar situation. Bogdanovic has averaged 17.8 PPG in his six appearances this season but has really turned it up in his last three. Since seeing his minutes lifted above 30 per game, Bogdanovic has exploded – averaging 25.3 PPG while shooting 52% from the field in his last three games. The rise of Bogdanovic and Hunter is worth keeping in mind before making a Hawks-Hornets prediction.
Why The Hornets Could Cover The Spread
Charlotte has predictably been at the bottom of the standings thanks to a lack of impact players and a plethora of injuries. They’ve been putrid offensively while missing LaMelo Ball for most of the season as they rank just 25th in scoring and last in offensive rating. The same can be said for their defense which ranks 27th in points allowed and 25th in defensive rating. Charlotte is an average rebounding team, however, as they rank 17th in rebound differential and 16th in rebound rate. Charlotte will be without Dennis Smith Jr. while Gordon Hayward is questionable due to injuries.
The Hornets have been a laughingstock of the league for much of the season, but finally appear to have star point guard LaMelo Ball back and healthy. In Ball’s return to action on Wednesday, he scored 23 points (9-18) and dished out 11 assists. Ball’s playmaking and outside shooting (5-13 from three) were surely missed while he was out with an injury. His return doesn’t make Charlotte a contender by any means. However, it certainly lifts them above the NBA poverty line and gives them a great chance to cover tonight. Ball’s return rounds out a frisky five-man lineup of Ball, Rozier, Oubre Jr., Washington, and Plumlee. Rozier and Oubre Jr. both average over 20 PPG, giving the Hornets an underrated trio of scorers.
Final Hawks-Hornets Prediction & Pick
With LaMelo finally back, look for the Hornets to snap their six-game losing streak against a sputtering Hawks team.
Final Hawks-Hornets Prediction & Pick: Charlotte Hornets -3 (-108)