Take Raptors vs. Hornets to Go ‘Over’ In Charlotte For Your NBA Picks

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, December 17, 2015 4:31 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 4:31 PM UTC

The Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Hornets each committed more turnovers than they usual do last game, but cleaner games from both should result in an ‘over’ for our NBA picks in Charlotte Thursday.


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Free NBA Pick: Over 106
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


Two teams that were sloppy on both ends of the court last game collide on Thursday night, and committing fewer miscues should result in a relatively high scoring game when the Toronto Raptors (16-10, 16-10 ATS) pay a visit to the Charlotte Hornets (14-10, 13-10-1 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 196 for this contest with the current NBA odds on the ‘over’ set at -106.


Seeking Third Straight Atlantic Division Title
The Raptors are the two-time defending Atlantic Division Champions, but considering that might be the weakest division in basketball, and that Toronto lost in the first round of the NBA Playoffs that last two seasons, Toronto was not given much credit on the NBA Futures before the season despite improving its defense by signing free agent DeMarre Carroll. However, Carroll is currently out and the Raptors could have used him in a 106-90 loss at Indiana Monday.

The Hornets had been a pleasant surprise before being the losing NBA picks the last two games, and they are completing a back-to-back here after losing 113-98 to the Magic in Orlando last night. Still, Charlotte remains four games over .500 and it also remains well balanced on both ends of the court overall, ranking and identical ninth in the NBA in both points scored (102.5 per game) and points allowed (98.6 per game).


Lost 21-Point Lead Due to Sloppiness
The Raptors have been able to score points with relative ease for several seasons now, led by a dynamic backcourt of Kyle Lowry and De Marcus DeRozan, and Toronto has made a valiant attempt to quiet its skeptics by indeed showing great improvement defensively, in fact ranking third in the NBA in points against at only 95.8 per game.

However, much of that is due to the signing of one of the best shutdown defenders in the league in Carroll, and unfortunately he now remains out indefinitely with a knee contusion. The Raptors still took a four-game winning streak into Indiana on Monday though, and it looked like they were well on their way to making it five straight wins when they jumped out to a 26-5 lead in the first quarter.

However, the Pacers came all the way back and then some keyed by a monstrous 39-4 run that would likely not have happened with Carroll on the floor, ultimately dealing Toronto the 16-point setback. Aside for shoddier defense than usual, the Raptors also committed 21 turnovers in the game and were outscored in the paint 48-20.

Considering that the defense may be difficult to fix until Carroll gets back, the Raptors probably need to outscore teams to win games these days. To do that, they must first cut down on those turnovers from Monday, but thankfully that is something that is correctable and having had two days off helps.


Defense Took the Night Off
Speaking of turnovers, the Hornets have committed the fewest of them in the league at just 12.6 per game, but they committed seven turnovers in the first quarter alone in Orlando last night helping the Magic build a 30-23 lead after one stanza, and in the end Orlando scored 25 points off of 16 Charlotte turnovers overall while putting up 113 points on the normally stiff Hornets’ defense.

In fact, the Magic shot an amazing 55.8 percent overall, and not all of it was due to easy transition lay-ups off of turnovers either as Orlando shot 14-for-24, 58.3 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Granted that was probably an aberration for the Hornets’ defense, but still the Toronto guards are also capable of shooting over the defense, so Charlotte may have its hands full defensively again.

We are not all that concerned about the offense though, as the Hornets did still score 98 points last night after all despite committing more turnovers that usual, and not having to deal with the tight defense of Carroll is another added boon.


Teams Usually Score Points in Charlotte
Finally, while both teams can play defense when they are at full strength, it is the offenses that has usually won out when these teams have gotten together in Charlotte, with the ‘over’ going 9-3 in the last 12 head-to-head meetings here.

As we expect both offenses to clean things up after underachieving last game due to miscues, look for that pattern to continue with Toronto and Charlotte again going ‘over’ in Time Warner Arena on Thursday.

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