Pacers vs Hornets – NBA Pick for February 2nd

by Kevin Roberts
on February 2, 2018
All odds that are referenced in this article were taken from Bovada at 9:31 am CT on 2/2/2018. These odds may have changed since the time of this writing.

The Toronto Raptors couldn’t take advantage of John Wall being sidelined on Thursday, as they fell to the Washington Wizards on the road by three points.

Toronto felt like a solid pick even though they were on the road, but it’s tough to win when you give up 122 points. The loss dropped me to 45-33-2 on the season and sends me into Friday night’s nine-game NBA betting slate riding a rough three-game losing streak.

Despite the big slate, there is shockingly little betting value to feel great about for tonight. That being said, a lot of these games are being called pretty close to the chest by Vegas, with just three contests carrying a point spread greater than +4.5.

There are a few different paths to take tonight. I’m sure the Dubs have a shot at covering a thick -13 spread in Sacramento, while the Knicks (+2.5) feel like attractive bets in Milwaukee with Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) probably out.

Last night’s pick – Toronto – even looks like a solid play now that they’re at home.

My favorite play on the board, however, goes down in Charlotte, where the Hornets prepare to host the Indiana Pacers.

Charlotte tends to be seen as a dangerous team to bet against when they play at home, but they’re actually just 14-14 on their home floor this year. Indy, meanwhile, won the first meeting fairly easily and enter tonight in better form.

Victor Oladipo and company have ripped off three straight wins and have won 7 of their last 10. The Pacers are now just two games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for first place in the Central Division, too, so you better believe they’re going to be laser focused.

The same could be said for the Hornets, who do have a favorable matchup on paper tonight. Still, they’re just 5-5 over their last 10 games and 21-29 on the year, overall.

Charlotte has the leg up down low with Dwight Howard and they’re at home, but there’s little doubt that Indy is the superior squad. Which way should bettors lean in this matchup, though? Let’s break this thing down further to find out:

Indiana Pacers(+3, -110)
Charlotte Hornets (-3, -110)
Total: 211

In the interest of full disclosure, there are three bets I’m looking at with this game; the Over, Indy against the spread and the Pacers as a straight up bet.

The Total (-105 for Over, -110 for Under) is appealing just because there isn’t staggering defensive resistance here.

The Hornets rank 10th in defensive efficiency, but they still give up over 105 points per game. That hasn’t been something they’ve been able to stave off recently, either, as four of their last five opponents put up 101+ points against them.

On the other side, the Pacers can push the pace a bit and they rank 6th in offensive efficiency. They have an inside-outside attack, led by explosive scorer Victor Oladipo. When things are clicking, they’re tough to slow down with their 106+ points per game average.

I just don’t see enough defense here, so if you want to attack the Total, I definitely like the Over.

I’m not really feeling the Hornets tonight in any regard. Obviously, they are at home and Dwight Howard has been a monster lately, but I think this is going to be a pretty close game and the Hornets are simply a tough team to trust in any situation.

In addition, Charlotte has been pretty weak (21-25-4) against the spread this year and they’re just 12-10 ATS as home favorites. It’s better to have a winning record than not, but this just goes to show Charlotte is inconsistent – even on their home court.

One thing that has me favoring Indy is the fact that all of their bigs can pull Dwight away from the glass.

He’s been awesome down low this year, but the fact that Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis and Thaddeus Young can all stretch the floor as shooters makes it less likely that he can camp out down low and create chaos as a shot-blocker and general defender.

Howard was plenty fine (22 and 11) the first time these two teams met, but I think it’s possible this matchup could make him less of a presence than usual.

The Hornets certainly have the pieces in Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum to run with the Pacers, but bettors shouldn’t ignore Indy’s ability to defend up front. Victor Oladipo especially is a menacing on-ball defender and I wouldn’t be shocked if he spent some time giving Walker some trouble.

Ultimately, I’m not really biting on any data against the spread and splits don’t tell me enough, either. The matchup could be seen as a wash, but I like Indy’s depth far more and I also think their explosive offensive ability gives them an edge.

If the Pacers can put Dipo on Walker and also draw Howard away from the basket more, in theory, they should have the advantage. They got the win the first time around in Indy and I think they can do so again.

Even if they can’t, the Pacers have enough wiggle room to love them ATS. Indiana is just 9-9 against the spread as a road dog this season, but there is enough here to love the value.

Pick: Indiana Pacers

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