The Charlotte Hornets and Denver Nuggets have both won 7 of their last 10 games and are looking to face each other for the first time this season. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Hornets-Nuggets prediction and pick.
The Hornets are on fire to start the second half of the season winning their first three games since the all-star break and sitting fifth in the eastern conference with a record of 20-18. They will look to extend their four-game winning streak to five with a win tonight against the Nuggets.
The Nuggets have a record of 23-16 and are currently sitting 5th in a tough western conference more or less because of the consistent, dominant, and MVP-type performance of their star, Nikola Jokic.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Hornets-Nuggets odds.
NBA Odds: Hornets-Nuggets Odds
Charlotte Hornets +6.5 (-110)
Denver Nuggets -6.5 (-110)
Over 228.5 Points (-110)
Under 228.5 Points(-110)
Why The Hornets Could Cover The Spread
The Hornets have won their last four games behind the play of their stars in Terry Rozier, Lamelo Ball, and Gordon Hayward.
Gordon Hayward has been having a comeback season after a few disappointing seasons with the Boston Celtics. Hayward is averaging 21.1 points, 3.9 assists, and 5.4 rebounds with great efficiency from the field so far this season.
The new backcourt of the Hornets of Terry Rozier and Lamelo Ball has also been very successful for the team. They have averaged about 36.2 points, 9.5 assists, and 9.7 rebounds while shooting roughly 45% from the field.
The Hornets do struggle on the defensive end allowing the 10th most points from their opponents, which is an area in which they need to improve upon and step up tonight as the Nuggets have the 5th best offensive rating in the league.
If Rozier, Ball, and Hayward can continue to produce with efficiency on the offensive end and the team can find a way to slow down Nikola Jokic as much as possible, the Hornets have a great opportunity to get a win and cover the spread.
Why The Nuggets Could Cover The Spread
The Nuggets are coming off a fresh win against a solid team in the Indiana Pacers where Nikola Jokic was able to put up 32 points, five assists, and 14 rebounds against a good frontcourt in Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner.
Jokic is averaging a near triple-double this season with 27.3 points, 8.5 assists, and 11.2 rebounds. That said, he should have his way tonight against the smaller and less-talented frontcourt for the Hornets in PJ Washington and Cody Zeller.
On the other hand, it's hard to say what the Nuggets will get from their second star in Jamal Murray. In the last five games, Murray has dropped 24, 23, three, 10, and 16 points all while playing 30-plus minutes.
Depending on Murray's level of production, the Nuggets may need key players, like Michael Porter Jr., Will Barton, and Paul Millsap, to step up. This shouldn't be a huge worry though as the Hornets currently allow the 10th most points from an opposing team.
Ultimately, the Nuggets behind a dominant performance from Jokic might be enough for the team to pull out the win. For the Nuggets to cover the spread and potentially blow out the game, they will need to see bigger contributions from their second star in Jamal Murray and one or two key players.
Final Hornets-Nuggets Prediction & Pick
The Hornets have won all 3 games since the all-star break and are feeling unstoppable right now behind the play of Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, and Lamelo Ball. They will look to continue their win streak against the Nuggets, but do they have enough to stop an incredibly offensive talent in Jokic?
Nikola Jokic is having an MVP-type season this year averaging a near triple-double and looking unstoppable. With that in mind and the fact that the Hornets are a poor defensive team without a good center to match up with the potential MVP, Jokic should have his way. The Nuggets should pull away with the win behind Jokic's performance alone but it's possible the Hornets have the momentum and confidence from their current four-game winning streak to keep the game close enough to cover the spread.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION & PICK FOR HORNETS-NUGGETS: CHA 118, DEN 122 (CHA +6.5)