The Golden State Warriors are seeking their 20th straight win to begin the year, but do not lose sight of this seemingly high posted total of 211 as they visit the Charlotte Hornets.
While the road team continues its quest for history, that may be resulting in a rather inflated total Wednesday night that gives value to the ‘under’ when those undefeated Golden State Warriors (19-0, 13-6 ATS) try to make it 20 straight wins to start the season when they pay a visit to the Charlotte Hornets (10-7, 9-7-1 ATS) at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, NC at 7:05 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Southeast.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 211 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -102.
Quest for Record NBA Winning Streak
The Warriors have already set an NBA record for the most consecutive wins to start a season, and their next goal is to set the all-time record for the longest winning streak overall. Golden State has now won 23 straight regular season games, the third longest streak in history, leaving them four games shy of catching the 2013 Miami Heat for the second longest streak of 27 straight wins and 10 games shy of the all time record of 33 straight by the 1971-72 Lakers!
The Hornets are not the Warriors, but Charlotte has made positive strides under Coach Steve Clifford, first returning to the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history last season and now getting off to a promising 10-7 start as NBA picks this year including going 8-2 here at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Hornets come in having won five of their last six games and it should be an electric atmosphere in Charlotte this evening.
Defense as Important as the Offense
Our focus here is on the posted total of 211, as we simply feel this number is inflated. Much has been made of the fact that the Warriors lead the NBA in scoring with their 115.3 points per game, as we as their 49.1 percent field goal percentage and 43.1 percent three-point percentage. However, much like during the NBA Championship run last season, the excellent Golden State defense often gets underappreciated.
The Warriors are ranked 14th in points against at 99.9 per game, but remember that they also play at one of the fastest tempos in the league, so the fact that they are allowing less than 100 per game is actually remarkable. More representative of their defense is the fact that they are sixth in the league in field goal percentage allowed at 42.6 percent and second in three-point defense at 30.2 percent.
Perhaps most importantly, the Warriors are fifth in the league in defensive efficiency grading out at 97.0 points allowed per 100 possessions, so many of the points that they are allowing are simply a function of their pace.
Hornets Figure to Slow the Pace
And you can probably bet that the Hornets will do their best to slow the pace in this game, which would be another boon for the ‘under’, as there is probably no team in the NBA that can beat the Warriors by trying to run with them. Sure, the Hornets are playing faster this season than in past years and that has resulted in some high scoring outputs that have Charlotte sixth in the league in scoring with 102.5 points per game, but expect them to rein things in a bit here.
In fact, even with the Hornets playing faster, that is a relative term as they still only rank 20th in the league in pace rating at 98.1 possessions, and while that is up from the 95.3 possessions last year, it is still not in Golden State territory. And the Hornets have also played good defense given their improved pace, ranking 10th in the league in points against at 98.8 per game.
Thus, all Charlotte games have averaged a combined 201.3 points per game this season, which is nearly 10 points less than this posted total. We expect tonight’s final output to be right around that Hornets’ combined average for the year as they control the pace at home rather than allowing this game to turn in what would almost certainly be a detrimental track meet.
Trending the ‘under’
Finally, there are no shortage of angles supporting the ‘under’ here from both sides. For starters, the ‘under’ is 10-4 in the Hornets’ last 14 home games overall and 5-0 in their last five home games vs. teams with winning road records. Also, the ‘under’ is 9-4-1 in the Warriors’ last 14 games after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game and 10-3 in their last 13 games following an ATS loss.
We expect nothing different this evening, with the Hornets slowing the pace enough and both team playing enough defense for Golden State and Charlotte to stay ‘under’ this very high posted total on Wednesday.
NBA Pick: Warriors, Hornets ‘under’ 211 (-102)