NBA Predictions: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Charlotte Hornets Picks
Only six games on the schedule, but a couple of nice opportunities among them
We start with the easy money.
If you’ve been reading this column since the weekend and following my advice, you’d be a wealthier individual by now. That’s because I said to hammer the Jazz on their current five-game home stand, the first two of which they came out on top with successful hammerings of the Blazers and Kings by a combined 35 points.
Last night they weren’t so fortunate, losing their first game since last year at home to the Wizards. Crazy things happen sometimes.
It doesn’t mean you should get off the most successful train in the NBA. Utah still holds the league’s leading home mark against the spread at 20-7. Next up is the Thunder, who have by far the league’s worst net rating in the league since the All-Star break. With Phoenix nipping at Utah’s heels, there’s no room for a let up here.
The Pick: Utah -17.5 @ -105 (Click To Bet)
Speaking of Phoenix, here’s the other team I’ve been preaching about for a while now. They started off their own five-game home stand with a 28-point win and easy cover against the Wizards and then they won last night against the Rockets, but only by six points in a game that Houston successfully walk through the back door after being down by 23 at the half.
Next up is Miami, who you’d think is in a different weight class than Washington and Houston, but the reality is that they have a negative net rating on the season and a barely positive one since the break. The Heat may be coming off a Finals run, but this year’s version has played nothing like the team that accomplished that feat.
The Suns are too close to the Jazz to give up their fight for the top seed now. They’ve had the league’s best record for the last two months now and if they can somehow catch Utah, it would likely help them a lot in terms of who they’ll likely face in the first round.
The Pick: Suns -4 @ -105 (Click To Bet)
Two teams missing their two best players.
For the Lakers, they’re without two of the league’s top five players, but to they’re credit, they’ve fought hard since LeBron went down, coming into last night with the league’s 16th ranked net rating and a few tough breaks away from a .500 record.
We have a smaller sample size for the Hornets since Gordon Hayward went down, taking them down another perimeter playmaker after an earlier injury to LaMelo Ball. In the four games he’s missed, the Hornets are 2-2 but their wins have come against the terrible Thunder and a Bucks team missing its top three players. More illustrative is their minus 3.3 net rating, which ranks just 22nd in the league over this stretch.
The Lakers have the advantage on paper, but they’re also coming off a back to back and traveling from New York for this game. It’s a toss-up, so take the team getting the points.
The Pick: Los Angeles +1 @ -110 (Click To Bet)
Other NBA Games
Atlanta Hawks at Toronto Raptors
The Raptors are still in the play-in race thanks to yet another loss by the Chicago Bulls, who Toronto now trails by just two games. Atlanta, meanwhile, is still banged up, but it hasn’t prevented them from covering six of seven. Laying points on the road is tough, but the Raptors are just 10-15 against the spread in Tampa this season. Go with the road team.
Los Angeles Clippers at Indiana Pacers
The Pacers are what they are at this point: a middling also-ran that is particularly vulnerable at home, where they’re just 7-17 against the spread – the second worst mark in the league. In come the Clippers, who are in a dogfight for home court in the West and have won 11 of 13. They’ll take care of business here.
Boston Celtics at Portland Trail Blazers
Portland has been scuffling a bit, having lost four of six, including two night ago to the Miami Heat. Boston, meanwhile, is still flying high off their come from behind win in Denver and has now won five of six. That they’re getting points here is a nice bonus. Take advantage.
NBA Expert Picks
(Click Odds To Bet)
Utah -17.5 @ -105 (Click To Bet)
Suns -4 @ -105 (Click To Bet)
Los Angeles +1 @ -110 (Click To Bet)
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Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.