Will Playoff Push Fuel Hornets in D.C. vs The Wizards?

Charlotte Hornets

Jason Lake

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 4:55 PM GMT

The Charlotte Hornets are more dangerous than their record looks. They just might be the right basketball pick for Tuesday’s game against the Washington Wizards.

Charlotte Hornets vs Washington Wizards

If it wasn’t for bad luck, the Charlotte Hornets wouldn’t have no luck at all. They’ve played some decent basketball this year, but it hasn’t translated to winning; the Hornets are on the wrong side of the Eastern Conference playoff bubble at 36-41 SU and 35-39-3 ATS. Charlotte is a full game behind the eighth-place Miami Heat with just five games left to go. And one of those games is Tuesday night (7:00 p.m. ET) against the Washington Wizards, in Washington. Yikes.

Then again, maybe it’s not so bad. The Wizards (46-31 SU, 39-37-1 ATS) have already clinched the Southeast Division, and they may have taken their foot off the gas pedal just a bit, dropping three straight games SU and ATS. The Hornets won their last three in a row, also SU and ATS. Are they the right choice as 4-point road dogs on the NBA odds board?
 

The Blue Hornets

Not according to the usual gang of hoop nerds. FiveThirtyEight projects the Wiz as 6-point favorites, and there aren’t any fresh injuries for either team spoiling those projections. As for Washington’s three-game losing streak, it was at the end of a five-game road swing, and the teams who beat them were the Los Angeles Clippers (–6), Utah Jazz (–2.5) and Golden State Warriors (–9.5).

The Hornets would figure to have betting value in just about any situation. They’ve posted a plus-1.0 point differential, but they’ve also had some incredible misfortune, going 0-9 in games decided by three points or fewer. The good kind of regression should be on its way. Meanwhile, the Wizards have a plus-1.9 point differential on the season, so you give them a reasonable 2.6 points for home-court advantage, and you get Washington –3.5, right? That’s just science.
 

Well, if we look at the Simple Rating System over at Basketball Reference, they’ve got Washington (+1.46 SRS) less than a point per game better than Charlotte (+0.70 SRS). So let’s call it a wash with the stats and lean on the early consensus numbers, which are 96-percent in favor of the Wiz. If the sharps want Washington in their NBA picks, so do we.

Free NBA Pick: Wizards –4 (–108)
Best Line Available: at Betmania

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