The Denver Nuggets take a Monday night visit to North Carolina as they do battle with the Charlotte Hornets. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series with a Nuggets-Hornets prediction and pick.
The Nuggets defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 113-107 on Saturday night. Nikola Jokic paced the Nuggets with 35 points, shooting 13-for-15. Furthermore, he added 12 rebounds and eight assists. Additionally, Aaron Gordon was solid for Denver, scoring 20 points. He shot 8-for-17, including two 3-pointers. Also, he grabbed nine rebounds.
However, the clutch moment came from Monte Morris in the fourth quarter. His steal and 3-pointer helped spark a 10-2 run that sealed the game for the Nuggets. Denver shot 48.2 percent from the field and owned the battle of the boards, 47-36. The Nuggets are 2-3 over the past five games and are the sixth seed in the Western Conference.
The Hornets defeated the Brooklyn Nets 119-110 on Sunday night, spoiling the Barclays Center debut of Kyrie Irving this season. LaMelo Ball took the reins, leading the Hornets with 33 points. His stat line included seven 3-pointers from beyond the arc, seven rebounds, and nine assists. Similarly, Miles Bridges came through for Charlotte. He scored 24 points, hitting three 3-pointers and pulling down eight rebounds. P.J. Washington contributed with 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
The Hornets clamped down on Irving, forcing him to miss 15 of his first 17 shots. Also, Charlotte was able to rally from a 14-point deficit in the second quarter. The Hornets are the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and are 7-1 over an eight-game stretch.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Nuggets-Hornets odds.
NBA Odds: Nuggets-Hornets Odds
Nuggets: -3 (-110)
Hornets: +3 (-110)
Over: 233.5 (-110)
Under: 233.5 (-110)
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Why The Nuggets Could Cover The Spread
Denver has weapons ready to fire to take advantage of a tired Hornets team. In 13 back-to-back games, the Hornets are 1-12 this season. The Nuggets could capitalize on that fact as they take on the Hornets, who had to fly home after playing in Brooklyn the previous night. Denver also has Jokic, and he has been their go-to guy.
Jokic is averaging 26.3 points, 13.5 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game in another MVP-caliber campaign. With two key teammates sidelined, Jokic has taken the responsibility of carrying the Nuggets. He has shouldered the load, lifting them to a winning record and the sixth seed in the Western Conference. He is a big reason the Nuggets are ninth in points and third in field goal percentage. When he fires on all cylinders, the Nuggets are tough to beat. Despite that, Gordon and Will Barton will be the key in this game.
The Nuggets lost 115-107 in the only other matchup against the Hornets this season in front of their fans. Jokic did all right, scoring 29 points, but he took a lot of shots. The biggest difference in this game was that Barton struggled, along with the rest of the starters, as every starter not named Jokic combined for 36 points. The Nuggets will cover the spread if Gordon and Barton can take the pressure off Jokic. Doing this will allow him to play more freely and find the rhythm he needs to dominate from start to finish.
Why The Hornets Could Cover The Spread
Charlotte did everything right in its win over Denver last time. They forced Jokic to take terrible shots as he shot 38.2 percent from the field. The Hornets also limited the rest of the starters to 36 points. They also distributed the scoring across the floor.
Ball scored 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting. Additionally, Bridges added 16 points while shooting 6-for-14 from the floor. Terry Rozier came through with 17 points, including four 3-pointers. It also helped that he grabbed seven rebounds.
However, the greatest spark came off the bench. Kelly Oubre Jr. stood out with 23 points. He shot 7-for-15 from the field and put up five 3-point daggers. In all, the bench combined for 57 points. Oubre scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and helped the Hornets turn a 19-point third-quarter deficit into a victory.
The Hornets will cover the spread if they can get superior production from the bench. Likewise, if they can contain Jokic, Charlotte will cover.
Final Nuggets-Hornets Prediction & Pick
Both teams look to cement their playoff status this coming week. The Nuggets are in a slightly better position after an extra day of rest. Charlotte’s inability to perform well on the second day of back-to-back days suggests that a bad pattern exists. The Nuggets are the slight favorite and will look to exploit some tired bodies as they make a push for the playoffs.
Final Nuggets-Hornets Prediction & Pick: Denver -3 (-110)