NBA Pick: New Orleans Hornets +7½ over Memphis Grizzlies

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, January 27, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

The Hornets have been playing much better going 7-4 straight up and 8-3 ATS the last 11 games while the Grizzlies starters continue to struggle, with the bench bailing Memphis out lately.
The improving underdog has a very nice chance to hang tough Sunday evening when those New Orleans Hornets (14-29, 7-14 away) pay a visit to the Memphis Grizzlies (28-14, 17-6 home) at FedEx Forum in Memphis, TN at 6:05 ET.

The point spread at 5 Dimes has New Orleans as a decided road underdog for this contest with the current line at +7½ with odds of -108.

The Hornets are coming off of an ugly 100-82 loss on Friday in their worst game in quite some time, but we are willing to grant them a pass for that effort after New Orleans had just fought the Spurs down to the wire in a 106-102 road loss two nights earlier, and the Bees may have been feeling some lingering effects.

The bottom line is that the Hornets are still 7-4 straight up in their last 11 games after beginning the year 7-25, and they are a wallet filling 8-3 ATS in those 11 games. New Orleans had averaged 105.8 points per game in its previous five games prior to Friday while topping 100 points four times and scoring at least 111 points  three times, and the one time the Hornets failed to reach 100 points they still won 90-78 on the road vs. the Boston Celtics.

The improvement of the Hornets coincided with the return of Eric Gordon from his knee surgery. Gordon has played in 12 games since making his seasonal debut on December 29th, and he has averaged 17.6 points after leading the team with 20 points in the loss vs. the Rockets. Gordon played only nine games last season also, which was his first in New Orleans, before tearing up that knee.

To give you an idea of just how valuable Gordon is, the Hornets are 13-8 straight up in the 21 games that he has actually made it on to the court in his two seasons down on the Bayou.

The Grizzlies have now actually scored 100 points in back-to-back games, following up a handy 106-93 win over the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday by beating the Brooklyn Nets more easily 101-77 on Friday. Even with those wins, Memphis is ranked 25th in the NBA in scoring at 93.4 points per game, 24th in field goal percentage and 23rd in three-point shooting.

Furthermore, the Memphis starting lineup continues to struggle, particularly leading scorer Rudy Gay and All-Star Zach Randolph. Gay has averaged only 13.3 points on a dismal 32.3 percent shooting in his last four games, while Randolph has averaged 12.2 points on 38.0 percent shooting over his last five.

Prior to this last two-game scoring outburst, the Grizzlies had reached 100 points only twice in their previous 24 games and the only reason why the scoring has picked up is because the Memphis bench has averaged 36.7 points in the last three contests. However, that bench is still averaging only 26.0 points per game overall, meaning that the last three games are probably the exception rather than the rule.

Thus, if the starters continue to struggle, the Grizzlies may have trouble scoring enough points to cover spreads as decided favorites like they are today, and with that in mind we are taking the points with New Orleans on Sunday.
 
[gameodds]5/134901/19-238-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Hornets +7½ (-108)