The Charlotte Hornets will take on the Indiana Pacers at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday night. It’s time to continue our NBA Odds series and make a Hornets-Pacers prediction and pick.
The opening game of the first-ever play-in tournament features a matchup between two Eastern Conference clubs on the rise. Charlotte exceeded expectations this season and would probably be in a better position if it weren’t for a ton of injuries mid-year. Indiana looked strong throughout and would probably be in a better position if they could’ve won more than they lost on their home court. Who will have the edge in this thrilling win-or-go-home affair?
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Hornets-Pacers odds.
NBA Odds: Hornets-Pacers Odds
Charlotte Hornets +3 (-110)
Indiana Pacers -3 (-110)
Over 227 Points (-110)
Under 227 Points (-110)
Why The Hornets Could Cover The Spread
The Charlotte Hornets are an exciting team full of young talent. LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, and PJ Washington lead a group of young bulls into what’s set to be a gritty life-or-death battle. The Hornets will dearly miss their vet Gordon Hayward who is listed as out for this game. Many will look at Indiana’s playoff experience as the difference. If you ask LaMelo Ball about experience, I’m sure he’ll tell you he’s not phased at all by it. Ball has grown up in the spotlight and seems to live for these moments.
As the primary ball-handler, LaMelo will look to create open looks for his running mates regularly. In three games against the Pacers this season, Charlotte averaged a whopping 30 assists per game. The Hornets ball movement led to at least six players scoring in double-figures in each of the three head-to-head matchups. Charlotte went 2-1 in those games and held Indiana to an average of 106 points per game. Although the Hornets really struggled down the stretch, they have the feel of a team that will rise to the occasion.
Why The Pacers Could Cover The Spread
The Indiana Pacers have fallen victim to the injury bug lately. Domantas Sabonis is dealing with a quad injury and Malcolm Brogdon is questionable with a hamstring injury. Although it is likely that both will suit up for this do-or-die play-in game, it’s uncertain whether they would be effective. Indiana will need Sabonis to be himself as the Pacers already have several key players out for this game. The All-Star forward dropped 22 points in the first two meetings before registering just eight in the most recent matchup with the Hornets.
The Pacers had such a strange season as they were just four games under .500, but 10 games under .500 at home. They would certainly be the first team in recent history to reach the postseason with such a poor record at home if they can get through the play-in tournament. Indiana has ramped up its play at home lately, going 5-0 ATS in its last five games at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games and 8-1 SU in their last nine games as the favorite. It seems as if Indiana is right where it wants to be in the inaugural play-in game.
Final Hornets-Pacers Prediction & Pick
Typically the team with home-court advantage would have the edge in a playoff game. I do understand why Indiana is giving three points, but I don’t agree with it. Despite the recent struggles, I believe that the Hornets will have more firepower in this matchup and their ability to move the ball without turning it over much will be the difference. Indiana has been turnover prone this year, which won’t bode well against a team that loves to play in transition. The Hornets have matched up well against Indiana and without Myles Turner manning the middle, Charlotte will have an easier time getting high-percentage looks at the basket.
FINAL PICK: Charlotte Hornets +3 (-110)