Big Underdog Value: Bet Hornets +7 Our NBA Pick Over Thunder

Charles Stark

Saturday, January 2, 2016 1:52 PM GMT

Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 1:52 PM GMT

After taking on Toronto the Charlotte Hornets have the un-enviable task of taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder. It is never easy to go against OKC but I like this Charlotte team to hang.

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NBA Pick: Hornets +7
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

NBA odds have come out making Charlotte a +5.5 underdog and the total around 208. I am not a big fan of taking a team off a back to back, especially without one of their best players, but this Hornets team is well coached and I think they matchup with OKC better than people realize. It will be no easy task to beat the Thunder but for my slection this is a good spot to take the points with them at home.

 

Oklahoma City Thunder
OKC is averaging 108.7 points per game while shooting 47.7% from the field, and allowing 100.5 points per game on 43.4% shooting from the field. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games, but six of those eight wins were at home and the two on the road they won were at the Lakers and a one point win at the Clippers. Of those six home wins they were all games they should've won as each of those were against teams with a losing record. Tonight they should face a much tougher task against a Charlotte team that is 13-6 at home. Offensively Oklahoma City has been about as good as anybody in the league not named Golden State as they rank second in scoring, two point shooting percentage, and shooting efficiency. They have been excellent from the outside in and have been strong in the paint averaging 47.2 points per game which ranks third in the NBA. Defensively they tend to give up what they gain in the interior as they allow 44.7 points per game in the paint which ranks 26th in the NBA. Their overall the defensive statistics are pretty solid this season ranking seventh in opponent shooting percentage and opponent effective field-goal percentage. But with their up-tempo pace they tend to allow a lot of shots per game, and then make up for it with how efficient they are on offense. Still, in my opinion they are simply giving up too many points recently allowing 105, 112, 123, and 106, to the Bulls, Nuggets, Bucks, and Suns respectively. They won't be able to get away with those type of averages on the road.

 

Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte is averaging 102.5 points per game while shooting 43.8% from the field, and allowing 99.7 points per game on 44.1% shooting from the field. In their last 10 games they have been less than stellar but they have been good at home  even in their losses except for one bad game versus the Celtics. Their six home losses on the year have all come to teams with winning records in Cleveland, Golden State, Atlanta, Los Angeles Clippers, and Boston twice. Except for one game against Boston, and the other against Golden State their other four home losses have all been tight affairs. The issue for them going forward will be how well they adjust without Al Jefferson, but I believe they are deep enough to hang with OKC tonight. Offensively they rank in about the middle of the league in most categories and they really love to shoot the three averaging 28.9 per game which ranks third in the league. The good news is that they make a lot of those averaging just over 10 per game which also ranks third in the league. Defensively they have been a bit better in the interior than on the perimeter allowing just 38.6 points per game in the paint ranking fifth in the league, compared to allowing 34.4% from beyond the arc which ranks 13th. Overall not having Jefferson will be tough to overcome, but as mentioned this team is pretty deep and should be able to make up for his absence.

I think the odds makers are just about right on the number with this game but for one of your NBA picks I recommend backing the Hornets plus the points. This is an underrated team who I think has surprised a lot of people, including myself, this season. Don't expect them to just lay down at home taking on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

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