Kemba Walker has been lights out for Charlotte, but we believe it's New Orleans that represents the best NBA betting value for tonight's hoops action. Find out why inside.
The NBA odds are favoring New Orleans, with a spread of either 4 or 4.5 available at most outlets. The Pelicans are a mediocre 17-17 on the year, but they've been far better than the Hornets, who are a miserable 12-24 so far this season.
We see one of the day's lowest totals here, with an O/U of 193.5. Neither team has been outstanding offensively, and don't forget that Charlotte is missing two of its best players in Al Jefferson and Lance Stephenson. Those kind of absences are always going to hurt efficiency on the offensive end of the floor.
After losing five straight games, the Hornets have regained some confidence by winning two straight games ahead of tonight's home date, both of which came on the road. They overcame Orlando (98-80) and then outlasted Boston (104-95) to improve their overall record to 12-24. Few would have predicted such a slow start for a team that made the playoffs last season and then added a prized free agent in Stephenson.
Against the Celtics on Monday, Charlotte got another big-time effort out of point guard Kemba Walker, who's had to carry even more of an offensive burden with Jefferson sidelined. Walker had 33 points, five rebounds and five assists in the win. Cody Zeller was solid too, recording 20 points and seven rebounds for the visiting Hornets, while Gerald Henderson and Marvin Williams also hit double figures in scoring.
Jefferson is expected to be out for at least another few weeks, while Stephenson has already been ruled out for tonight's game. That means we should see another extremely high usage rate for Walker, though he's going to need a lot of help if the Hornets are to avoid a loss against Anthony Davis and company.
New Orleans Pelicans
It's like clockwork. The Pelicans win a game, and then lose the next. They've now alternated victories and defeats in 10 straight games, proof of just how inconsistent (or consistent?) they've been lately. They're on the right track and have plenty of young talent, so while New Orleans is unlikely to make the playoffs this season, they're well-positioned to do some damage in the near future.
That's mainly because of Davis, who's been a total stud this year. He had 21 points and 10 rebounds in New Orleans' recent loss to Washington, while Tyreke Evans threw up a 21/7/4 line off the bench (he was ill). The Pelicans were held in check by a feisty Wizards team and couldn't get much going offensively.
We expect New Orleans to have a lot more success on that front tonight against an injury-depleted Charlotte team. We don't see anyone on the Hornets roster who'll be able to stop Davis from doing whatever he wants, and we expect that to be the catalyst for a cover for the road team. Read on below for more.
It's true Walker has been spectacular, and we have no reason to believe he'll slow down against New Orleans. However, he can't do it alone.
With Jefferson sidelined, it's going to be hard for Charlotte to keep up with some of the more talented teams out there. The Pelicans come in with a trio of Davis, Evans and Holiday that should be able to guide the road team to a win and ATS cover. They've got the better overall team right now, and so we're not going to shy away from taking on some road chalk.
With your NBA picks for a busy Wednesday night, don't hesitate to add New Orleans. Look for a monster game out of Davis against a weakened Charlotte frontcourt.
Free NBA Pick: New Orleans Pelicans -4 at BookMaker