Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Wednesday.
The struggling home team seems overvalued Tuesday night, seemingly giving value to the visitors as those Boston Celtics (7-12, 2-5 away) pay a visit to the reeling Charlotte Hornets (5-15, 4-7 home) at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, NC at 7:05 ET in a game available on Comcast SportsNet - New England.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Boston as a small road underdog for this contest with the current line at +2½ with odds of -101.
10-Game Losing Streak Snapped…Barely
The Hornets were hoping to build on a promising season last year when the made the playoffs for the second time in franchise history when they were still known as the Bobcats, but instead they are mired in last place in the Southeast Division and just snapped a 10-game losing streak on Friday. And barely so at they as Charlotte blew a 20-point lead vs. the New York Knicks and needed a last-second layup by Kemba Walker to prevail 103-102.
The Celtics have been playing much better basketball lately as they had been the winning NBA pick in three straight games before just missing in double overtime on the road vs. the Wizards in Washington 133-132 on Monday. Boston received an incredible 82 points from its bench in that contest including a career high 23 points from highly regarded rookie Marcus Smart, who also added five assists and four rebounds, which is a good omen for the future.
Boston 5-0 ATS Run
The Celtics did easily cover the point spread in that heartbreaking defeat, meaning that they are on a 5-0 ATS run as they also covered in a 109-105 road loss to the Atlanta Hawks prior to the three-game win streak. That now puts Boston over .500 against the NBA odds at 10-9 ATS on the young season, including 5-2 ATS on the road.
The Celtics erased a 16-point deficit to begin the fourth quarter to force overtime in Washington with the bench doing most of the damage, prompting Coach Brad Stevens to leave his reserves in the game in the latter stages. Smart was particularly impressive whole playing 34 minutes after playing just a grand total of 13 minutes in his first three NBA games, as his professional debut was delayed by 10 games due to an ankle injury that just now has him rounding into shape.
Boston would still love to see better performances from its starters tonight and that could certainly happen vs. a Charlotte defense ranked 22nd in points against at 101.2 per game and 26th in field goal percentage allowed at 46.5 percent.
Stephenson Finally Paying Some Dividends
In fact the Hornets have not done much well this season as they are also just 25th in points scored (94.2 per game) and 26th in field goal percentage (43.0) offensively, so the 5-15 mark is not that surprising. Al Jefferson and Walker continue to perform well and hustle their sneakers off every night, but they have gotten little to no support with former Indiana Pacer Lance Stephenson being a disappointment after being signed as a free agent.
Stephenson is finally showing signs of a pulse of late though, first scoring 20 points and adding eight rebounds vs. the Chicago Bulls and then adding 16 points in the slump-buster vs. the Knicks. Still, that is probably not enough to win consistently as the Hornets are lacking in depth, meaning the Celtics should have a decided edge in bench points tonight without that unit needing to duplicate that extraordinary 82-point effort from Monday.
Thus, the Hornets seem extremely vulnerable as favorites, particularly since they are still 2-12 in their last 14 games.
Celtics Won and Covered Three of Last Four Meetings
Finally the Celtics have won and covered three of the last four head-to-head meetings between these clubs, including winning 96-86 in their only trip here to Charlotte during this span last season.
Thus, take the points with Boston in a probable mild upset of the Hornets at Time Warner Arena on Wednesday.
NBA Pick: Celtics +2½ (-101)