The Charlotte Hornets travel to the Pacific Northwest to continue their Western Conference road trip against the Portland Trail Blazers. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Hornets-Blazers prediction and pick.
The Hornets hold an overall record of 16-17 and are 18-14-1 against the spread. Charlotte is coming off a thrilling win over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.
The Blazers stand at 18-14 overall and 17-15 against the spread. Portland is coming off a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Hornets-Blazers odds.
NBA Odds: Hornets-Blazers Odds
Charlotte Hornets +8 (-112)
Portland Trail Blazers -8 (-108)
Over 229.5 Points (-108)
Under 229.5 Points (-112)
Why The Hornets Could Cover The Spread
While these two offenses produce similar numbers, the way in which they get their points on the board differ significantly.
Between Damian Lillard, Carmelo Anthony, and CJ McCollum (who will miss his 20th straight game), the Blazers have some of the best one-on-one scorers in the league. Portland often gives the ball to Dame and lets him launch at will to run up the numbers.
The Hornets, on the other hand, rely on ball movement. Charlotte is third in the league in assists, dishing 27.0 dimes a game. Led by LaMelo Ball (6.3 APG), five Charlotte players average at least three assists a game.
Because of Portland’s style, the focus of the game for the Hornets will be stopping Lillard. When Dame goes cold, it becomes very hard for the Blazers to win.
When Lillard scores 25 points or less, Portland is a lowly 2-7. When he scores 30 or more, the Blazers are 14-5. A key figure in this game will be if Dame can get hit his season scoring average of 29.8 points per game.
Defensively, Charlotte should throw everything it can at Lillard and trap early to prevent Dame Time early.
Offensively, the Hornets should be able to run the points up on a Blazers team with the third-worst defensive rating in the league. Charlotte has shown it can win shootouts against offensive-minded teams, beating the Bucks, Suns, and Mavericks by averaging 122.7 points in those three matchups.
The Hornets will have to quickly shift focus after Sunday’s thriller and muster enough energy for another high-scoring matchup.
Why The Blazers Could Cover The Spread
After facing a defensive monster in the Los Angeles Lakers in their last matchup, the Blazers will have a significantly easier opponent on their hands in Charlotte.
The Hornets allow 113.2 points a game, the eighth-most in the league. Charlotte has let opponents hit just over 15 3-pointers a game (second-most in the NBA) at a 37.6% clip.
As this figures to be a game that ends up in the 110-120-point range, the 3-point battle will be key, and the Blazers hold the decisive advantage here.
Portland has four players shooting above league average from deep (37%) on four or more attempts per game.
Even if the Hornets elect to trap Dame, Portland has multiple options along the perimeter that can make the Charlotte defense pay.
Defensively, Portland will catch a break thanks to the injury report. Gordon Hayward, the Hornets’ leading scorer, is doubtful to take the floor. DeVonte’ Graham, the Hornets’ fourth-leading scorer, has already been declared out.
With two big names off the list, the defensive focus shifts to the backcourt trinity of LaMelo Ball, Malik Monk, and Terry Rozier. The Blazers will counter with solid perimeter defenders in Gary Trent Jr., Derrick Jones Jr., and Robert Covington.
Portland has been burned by height in the last two games. Nikola Jokic torched them for 41 points, while Montrezl Harrell and LeBron James combined for nearly half of L.A.’s points in their last game.
The Hornets don’t have a player with enough size and skill to punish Portland. As long as the Blazers hold their own on the perimeter, this should result in a win.
Final Hornets-Blazers Prediction & Pick
Without Hayward, the Hornets needed a meltdown of epic proportions to get past the Sacramento Kings. On the second night of a back-to-back against a rested Portland team, it’s doubtful they get the chance to steal a win. Lillard and the Blazers are desperate for a win, and the Hornets are the perfect target. I expect the Blazers to blitz a weary Hornets team and cover easily.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: POR 119, CHA 104 (POR -8)