Hornets Might Have Some Sting in Houston

Jason Lake

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 1:04 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017 1:04 PM UTC

The Charlotte Hornets haven’t played good basketball this year, but they could be the right NBA pick as big road dogs Wednesday night versus the Houston Rockets.

Charlotte Hornets vs Houston Rockets

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3264692, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,180,19,139,300], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

Free NBA Pick: UNDER 219.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

There’s something extra-special about this Charlotte Hornets franchise. Don’t be fooled by the name and the Tar Heel colors – these guys used to be the Charlotte Bobcats, and their performance record since taking the court in 2004 is one of small crests and deep troughs. Charlotte’s last crest was two years ago, when they went 48-34 (42-39-1 ATS) and earned the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. This was supposed to be the sign of better things to come with Rich Cho as GM and Steve Clifford as head coach.

It wasn’t. The Hornets team that will take on the Houston Rockets this Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) looks a lot different, especially with Dwight Howard (minus-2.1 BPM) at center, and this year’s results have been very disappointing at 10-16 SU and 11-14-1 ATS. But Charlotte could still be the right choice as a 12.5-point road dog on the NBA odds board.

Blue Wednesday

As poorly as the Hornets have played this year, they haven’t been quite as bad as their record. According to Pythagorean win expectation, Charlotte has played at the level of an 11-15 team. Basketball Reference has the Hornets at minus-1.23 on their Simple Rating System, ahead of the 13-13 Miami Heat (minus-1.91 SRS). There’s room for some regression here.

Is there enough room to make Charlotte a viable NBA pick? Well, FiveThirtyEight projects the Rockets (21-4 SU, 14-11 ATS) to win Wednesday’s game 87 percent of the time, pegging Houston as a 12-point chalk using their CARM-Elo formula. ESPN’s Basketball Power Index has Houston’s chances at 86.4 percent, or about –11 using the NBA numbers at Wizard of Odds. It’s a margin, sure, but it’s not the 2-point margin we’d like to see before opening our wallets and/or purses.

The Rockets have a Pythagorean win record of 21-4, the same as their actual win record, so there’s not much wiggle room there. On top of that, Houston is 10-0 SU and 6-4 ATS since Chris Paul (plus-6.5 BPM) made his return to the lineup after playing in just the opening game for the Rox. That includes 6-1 ATS when favored by fewer than 13 points. The Hornets are 2-7 SU and 3-6 ATS in their last nine games. This game should be a “pass” on the point spread, but if you want to place a small bet, consider the UNDER on the 219.5-point total, since both teams can play some defense and Charlotte struggles on offense. You might even get a better price before tip-off if all those Houston fans pound the OVER instead.

comment here