Hornets, Hawks to Pick Up Pace for Probable First-Half Binge

Jordan Sharp

Thursday, March 15, 2018 2:24 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 15, 2018 2:24 PM UTC

Tonight's Charlotte-Atlanta lacks playoff implications, but it does bring value to your betting card. With both teams tanking, we should see a faster-paced and higher-scoring first half.

Thursday NBA: Hornets vs. HawksFree NBA Pick: Over 112 1HBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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You can tell a lot about a tanking team by watching film of their games after the All-Star break. Both of these teams would be better served losing, and that means very little defense will be played tonight.

Take a look at the last time they played one another. The Hornets have destroyed the Hawks in all three meetings this season, but their most recent game was a litmus test on how tanking teams such as the Hawks play defense at this point of the season.

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Kemba Walker destroyed the Hawks in that game in January. If the Hawks’ defense was terrible at the rim then, it’s going to be even worse six weeks later.

Since the break, the Hawks have been slow to get into games and their first-half defense has suffered. Charlotte has dropped 61 or more first half points in their last two games against the Hawks, and they could easily do it again tonight with the way they have been playing.

The Hornets have been one of the league’s best first-half offenses since the break. They own a 113.2 offensive rating in the first half of their past 11 games, and they rank fourth-best since February 22 in that category.

The Hornets are also giving up more than 113 points per 100 possessions in the first half of their games since the break, with a pace of 102. The Hawks have allowed more than 108 points per 100 possessions in the first half since the break, and they are playing at a pace of nearly 106 in that span.

This first-half total should be 5 points higher than what's on the NBA odds board. However, it’s not, so for your NBA picks I’m recommending a first-half "over" play.

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