Free NBA Picks: Bet Hornets At Bargain Price Of -2.5 vs. Pacers

Jason Lake

Friday, March 4, 2016 1:58 AM GMT

The Indiana Pacers have added to their depth for Friday's game against the Charlotte Hornets. Will Ty Lawson help the Pacers beat the NBA odds, or will he hurt them?

Jason's 2015-16 record as of March 2: 26-30-1 ATS, 6-1-1 Total

It makes absolute sense. The Indiana Pacers (32-29 SU, 30-30-1 ATS) are on the cusp of getting back into the NBA playoffs, sitting in seventh place in the Eastern Conference as we go to press. They could use some depth in the backcourt to help them get there. PG Ty Lawson was available, having reached a buyout agreement with the Houston Rockets. It won't cost Indiana much to give this rental a spin.

But will Lawson help the Pacers beat the NBA odds when they visit the Charlotte Hornets (32-28 SU, 31-28-1 ATS) this Friday at 7:00 p.m. Eastern? No, no he won't. Lawson will reportedly report to the team on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Hornets are 3-point home faves for this matchup, and they're on a big-time roll at 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games, including a 96-95 win over the Pacers (–3.5 at home). Not bad for a team that was left for dead during the preseason.

 

Chase Tower
Let's get back to Lawson for a moment, because his impending arrival still might have some effect on Friday's game. It looks like SF Chase Budinger (11.3 PER, –1.2 BPM) will be the odd man out here; the Pacers are reportedly buying out his contract to make room for Lawson. That's a bit of a shame. Budinger has played well lately in relief of swingman C.J. Miles, who will miss his seventh straight game Friday with a strained left calf. Indiana is 2-4 SU and ATS thus far.

Here's the funny thing: The Pacers and Budinger apparently reached their buyout agreement last week. And they're not going to finalize it until after Friday's game. Budinger will be in uniform, presumably giving it the full 100 percent, as he has all week with Miles on the shelf. So we get one more day of business as usual for Indiana.

 

Tyler, Too
At least that will make our NBA picks a little easier. Here's how the hoop nerds see this matchup:

FiveThirtyEight (CARM-Elo): Charlotte –5
Basketball-Reference (SRS): Charlotte –3.27

Interesting. Apparently the Hornets might be a bargain at –3, and it's easy to see why: They're a small-market team without a big-name superstar – owner Michael Jordan notwithstanding. PG Kemba Walker (20.8 PER, +4.0 BPM) is their best player. Center Al Jefferson (17.0 PER, –2.0 BPM) and guard Jeremy Lin (14.1 PER, –0.8 BPM) might be the only two Hornets most NBA fans could pick out of a lineup. Okay, maybe PF Tyler Hansbrough (11.4 PER, –2.7 BPM).

Anyway, with this hot streak in full effect, Charlotte has caught and passed Indiana in the Eastern standings, but without generating all the hype the Pacers do with their poster boy, All-Star forward Paul George (20.2 PER, +4.0 BPM). By the way, George is a minus-1.1 in his eight games since the break. We'll take the Hornets, especially at –2.5 where available, and may the sphere be with you.

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NBA Pick: Hornets –2.5 (–113)
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle