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Nuggets, Hornets, Nikola Jokic, LaMelo Ball

NBA odds: Nuggets vs. Hornets prediction, odds, pick, and more

The Denver Nuggets head over to the south to face off against the Charlotte Hornets. Both teams are making final efforts to raise their rankings for the postseason. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Nuggets-Hornets prediction and pick.

The Nuggets currently reside in fourth place in the Western Conference. With a 44-24 record, Denver hopes to surpass the Los Angeles Clippers in the final week of the regular season and take third place instead.

The Hornets sit at eighth place in the Eastern Conference. They hold a 33-35 record and are very likely to partake in the Play-In Tournament. A win over Denver would be a nice confidence booster for Charlotte this late in the season.

Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Nuggets-Hornets odds.

NBA Odds: Nuggets-Hornets Odds

Denver Nuggets -5.5 (-110)

Charlotte Hornets +5.5 (-110)

Over 220 (-115)

Under 220 (-105)

Why the Nuggets Could Cover the Spread

Simply put, the Denver Nuggets are a better overall team. It was believed they would struggle after Jamal Murray fell to injury, but the team has been able to remain at the top of the pecking order of the Western Conference.

The ball runs through Nikola Jokic, who is arguably the best center in the league. He can score from nearly anywhere on the court, play solid defense, and pass the ball like a point guard. He gives Denver a massive advantage in every game they play, and they’ll be leaning on Jokic in this matchup.

The Hornets don’t have the most menacing interior defense, so the best strategy for the Nuggets to follow is to feed their superstar center down low. Once the Hornets adjust and try to double-team Jokic, he can use his passing abilities to find the open man.

Why the Hornets Could Cover the Spread

With LaMelo Ball back in action, the Charlotte Hornets have a chance to beat anybody. Ball is an electrifying prospect who is already viewed as one of the top young players in the league. It’s been a rocky year for Charlotte, but on Tuesday night, they’ll have the opportunity to stun the Nuggets.

With Murray out of the lineup, LaMelo Ball will likely take advantage of the mismatch at the point guard position. This is how the Hornets will at least cover the spread, as this matchup is right up Ball’s alley.

The Hornets’ best bet is to keep the ball in LaMelo’s hands and play the game at the perimeter. Their inside presence is lacking, especially when they face someone like Nikola Jokic. The term, “live or die by the three” might be the Hornets motto in this game.

Final Nuggets-Hornets Prediction & Pick

The interior presence the Nuggets have in this game gives them the edge. Charlotte has nobody who can slow down Nikola Jokic, which means it might be a long night for the Hornets’ bigs. However, with Jamal Murray out, LaMelo Ball could also have himself a field day. Even so, the Nuggets should make some defensive adjustments and prevent Ball from torching them too badly. Denver should walk away victorious, as they have the tools to dictate the pace of the game.

FINAL SCORE PREDICTION & PICK: Nuggets win 116-105 (DEN -5.5)