Wizards at Hornets NBA Pick for December 10

By in NBA on
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We have just 4 games on the NBA schedule on Tuesday night, which means there are slim pickings when it comes to basketball betting. The game in Charlotte between the Hornets and Wizards surely won’t be on the radar of many in the national media, but this game actually features the tightest spread of any game on tonight’s docket.

The Wizards opened as 1-point favorites tonight in Charlotte at MyBookie, but the line has since been pushed to Washington -2.5. The other 3 games feature spreads of Denver -4, Miami -9 and Portland -9. Washington and Charlotte may wind up duking it out to see which team finishes fourth out of the 5 teams in the Southeast Division, but we could have a fun, close game on our hands here.

Betting Data Wizards Hornets
2019 Straight-Up 7-15 9-16
2019 Home 4-6 5-8
2019 Away 3-9 4-8
2019 ATS 12-9-1 12-13-0
2019 ATS Home 5-5-0 6-7-0
2019 ATS Away 7-4-1 6-6-0
2019 O/U 12-9-1 13-12-0
2019 O/U Home 6-4-0 5-8-0
2019 O/U Away 6-5-1 8-4-0

Undermanned Wizards

The Wizards have already been playing without John Wall all season. The team’s franchise point guard is slated to miss the entire campaign after rupturing his Achilles last year, but the injuries haven’t ended there. For tonight’s game, Washington will also be without big man Thomas Bryant, guard Isaiah Thomas and swingman CJ Miles.

Bryant’s absence is meaningful considering the Wiz were already thin up front. The loss of their starting center means Moe Wagner will likely keep filling in for him, with veteran Ian Mahinmi soaking up some minutes as his backup. Rookie Rui Hachimura, the team’s lottery selection out of Gonzaga, has been playing all the minutes he can possibly handle of late. Over his last 5 games, Hachimura has played 38, 39, 43, 39 and 37 minutes.

The Wizards have also dropped 4 of their last 5 games overall to drop to just 7-15 on the year. While the team is floundering, head coach Scott Brooks is still getting good production from the likes of Bradley Beal, as well as a couple of unforseen sources in Davis Bertans and Ish Smith. Smith is also having to play heavy minutes lately with Thomas out of the lineup, which means Chris Chiozza is currently the only other point guard on the active roster.

Beal is up to a career-high 28 points per game so far this season while shooting better than 45 percent from the floor. For good measure, the Florida product is also averaging 7 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. Beal has been the primary reason for the Wizards’ surprisingly efficient offense. Washington ranks fifth in the league with an average of 110.3 points per 100 possessions. Only the Mavericks, Bucks, Rockets and Lakers have been better offensively than the Wizards to this point.

Bertans basically fell into the Wizards’ lap this summer. The Spurs needed to offload some salary in order to sign Marcus Morris, so they dealt Bertans to Washington essentially for nothing. Morris wound up reneging on his commitment to the Spurs to sign with the Knicks, but the damage had already been done. Washington essentially stole Bertans from San Antonio.

While that certainly has to grind the gears of Gregg Popovich, who knows where Washington would be without the Latvian sharpshooter? The 27-year-old has been brilliant this season, averaging nearly 15 points per game while shooting a blistering 45.2 percent from 3-point range. Bertans is averaging 22 points per game over his last 5 outings.

Charlotte’s Most Improved Player

Pascal Siakam has a legitimate case to win Most Improved Player for the second year running, but the leader in the race at this point has to be Charlotte’s Devonte’ Graham. The former Kansas Jayhawk played sparingly as a rookie last season with Kemba Walker manning most of the Hornets’ point guard minutes, but Graham has seized the opportunity to flourish in his second pro campaign.

Last season, Graham averaged a modest 4.7 points and 2.6 assists per game across 46 appearances with Charlotte. So far this season, the 24-year-old is averaging 18.8 points, 7.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds. That’s quite the leap from one year to the next. Graham began the year as the backup to newcomer Terry Rozier, but he has since played his way into a starting spot next to Rozier in the Hornets’ backcourt.

Graham is also shooting better than 41 percent from downtown on nearly 9 attempts per game. He ranks second in the league with 90 3-pointers made this season, which puts him just behind James Harden (107). Bertans ranks fourth in the same category.

Graham’s emergence has helped cover for the fact that the Rozier signing may have been a rash decision over the summer. Losing Walker to the Celtics in free agency stung, but there was no real need for Charlotte to splurge the money to land Rozier as a replacement. Rozier is still averaging a solid 17.5 points per game himself, but on just 43 percent shooting from the field.

Fortunately, Graham’s emergence has meant Rozier can play his more natural shooting guard position while Graham mans the point. Charlotte was never going to enjoy a ton of success with Rozier trying to handle distribution duties, as he’s best served trying to look for his own shot.

The Pick

Neither of these teams is very good, and neither is stingy defensively. The Washington Wizards own the league’s worst defensive rating, as they’re coughing up 114.5 points per 100 possessions. The Hornets rank 28th in the same category at 111.5. Needless to say, there’s a reason this game has a slate-high total of 230 points. Neither team is capable of defending, so there should be buckets galore here.

As a result, I really like the over on 230 points. I think there’s decent value there at -110.

However, my favorite bet is to take a shot on the Hornets as underdogs here.

Betting on Charlotte to cover the 2.5-point spread at -110 is the safer play, but taking Charlotte to win the game outright at +120 offers a little more profit potential. All 3 of these bets are viable, so take your pick.

Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...

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