The Hornets are still searching for their first win of the season as they get set to host the Bulls. How are the NBA odds shaping up for tonight's game in Charlotte & who do we trust with our picks?
Glancing over the NBA odds, we see the Bulls favored by four points at the top online sportsbooks.
A relatively low total of 192.5 points can be found on the board, which isn't very surprising considering both of these teams appear to have a defensive mentality again this season. Chicago and Charlotte rank sixth and 11th respectively in scoring defense ahead of Tuesday night's game.
It's been a tough start for the Hornets, who have dropped each of their first three games this season. Though they're winless, we can't lose sight of the fact they've played Atlanta twice and then also squared off Miami, and those are two rock-solid teams. It's not like Charlotte has been losing to weak competition.
We should instead be encouraged by the fact the Hornets were able to hang around in all three of the defeats. They lost to the Hawks by a combined total of five points in the two meetings, and they had their chances in their season opener against Dwyane Wade and the Heat as well.
We've seen a lot of different people step up and contribute for Charlotte early on, as six different players have averaged in double figures. That being said, the three biggest cogs in the wheel this season will be Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson and Nicolas Batum, and all three will need to stay healthy if the Hornets want to make a run at the playoffs.
Through four games the Bulls have won three times, beating Cleveland, Brooklyn and Orlando and losing in overtime on the road versus Detroit. They've averaged 99.5 points per game, ranking them 19th in the league, but have been sound defensively, holding opponents to 95.0 points on average.
It's looking like moving Nikola Mirotic into the starting five over Joakim Noah has worked out well, as Mirotic has averaged 18.8 points and 6.8 rebounds (while shooting an impressive 46.4 percent from three) thus far this season. Of course, Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose continue to receive plenty of playing time, particularly Butler, who's averaging a whopping 36.5 minutes a contest ahead of Tuesday; he's posted averages of 19.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists in the four matchups.
It hasn't been a great start for Rose, who's averaging a mere 11.8 points per game on 35.2 percent shooting, but once he finds his stride, the Bulls are going to be that much more dangerous. New coach Fred Hoiberg has to be excited about the talented group that he's in charge of.
The NBA odds are on Chicago's side, but we think the Hornets could be undervalued after their sluggish start. They're much more talented than their 0-3 record would suggest, and we're anticipating them making this game very competitive and perhaps even winning outright.
We like the balance of this Charlotte roster overall, with Walker and Lin getting a lot of minutes together in the backcourt and Jefferson patrolling the paint, and we especially like the addition of versatile small forward Nicolas Batum, who can do a little of everything on the floor.
So while the Bulls have gotten off to the faster start, we think the Hornets are worth considering as one of your NBA picks for Tuesday. They have the home-court advantage, and we're not reading too much into their winless start, considering they played two of the better teams in the conference in Atlanta and Miami. Look for Charlotte to show up with a great performance on both ends of the court and cover as home dogs this evening.
NBA Pick: Charlotte Hornets +4 (-105) at 5Dimes