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Hornets vs. Pacers Odds, Predictions & Picks: The Live Bet to Make In First Play-In Game (Tuesday, May 18)

Hornets vs. Pacers Odds, Predictions & Picks: The Live Bet to Make In First Play-In Game (Tuesday, May 18) article feature image

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Terry Rozier #3 of the Charlotte Hornets and Domantas Sabonis #11 of the Indiana Pacers.

  • The Indiana Pacers will face the Charlotte Hornets in the first play-in game of this year's tournament.
  • The Pacers have been hit hard by the injury bug, and it was announced earlier today that Caris LeVert would also miss the game due to health and safety protocol.
  • Roberto Arguello breaks down the game below and explains when to live bet the Pacers based on injury news.

Editor’s Note: Caris LeVert will miss tonight’s game between the Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets due to health and safety protocols.

Hornets vs. Pacers Odds

Hornets Odds+2
Pacers Odds-2
Moneyline+105 / -125
Time6:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Tuesday afternoon and via PointsBet.

The Indiana Pacers host the Charlotte Hornets in the first of two Eastern Conference play-in games Tuesday night. The winner of this No. 9 vs. No. 10 matchup will travel to face the loser of the Celtics vs. Wizards game Thursday night.

The Hornets took two of three games to win the season series over the Pacers, but they will look to snap a five-game losing streak (including consecutive games where they blew fourth quarter leads) to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Pacers have several key players whose status for tonight’s game will be up in the air leading up to the opening tip. With so much uncertainty, let’s analyze both sides of tonight’s game to find a valuable betting angle.

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Outside Shooting is Key for Charlotte 

The Hornets won’t have Gordon Hayward back for Tuesday games and  Cody Martin is also out with an ankle injury. If they hope to have any chance at keeping their season alive, they will need at least two of their three explosive shooters — Terry Rozier, Devonte’ Graham, and Malik Monk — to shoot efficiently from beyond the arc.

When Charlotte-Indy met in April, the Hornets generated some good half-court offense out of Delay — primarily using PJ Washington in the middle, looking to drive Bitadze matchup, or make reads into screen-roll

— Brian Geisinger (@bgeis_bird) May 17, 2021

Rozier, the only Hornet besides Hayward scoring more than 16 points per game, has been an efficient scorer this season as his 116.4 points per 100 shots rank in the 76th percentile among combo guards.

Monk has also been relatively efficient as his 114.8 points per 100 shots rank in the 60th percentile among wings, and his 42% accuracy on 3s (excluding heaves and garbage time, per Cleaning The Glass) ranks in the 89th percentile. Devonte’ Graham has been less consistent as a scorer as his 110.2 points per 100 shots rank in the 47th percentile among combo guards. However, all three players have been efficient shooters from deep as they all have made at least 38% of their 3s this season.

While these three can win or lose the Hornets the play-in with their explosive scoring, Miles Bridges and LaMelo Ball will also play key roles for the Hornets.

After scoring fewer than 13 points per game in each month before April this season, Bridges scored 19.1 points per game in April (16 games) and 22.3 points per game in four May games. Bridges and PJ Washington will need to put pressure on the rim in pick-and-rolls and take advantage of a Pacers lineups without any true rim protectors when Domantas Sabonis plays the five.

Bridges is one of two Hornets (the other is Jalen McDaniels) who is finishing at an above-average rate at the rim among his position group. His 72% accuracy among bigs ranks in the 71st percentile, per Cleaning The Glass. Bridges can also pick-and-pop and his 40% accuracy on 3s ranks in the 86th percentile among bigs.

If Ball can hit a few open 3-pointers to provide spacing and consistently get into the paint, the Hornets should have success offensively.

Can the Pacers Overcome Injuries?

Health has derailed the second-half of the Pacers’ season and the injury report is the key to tonight’s game.

Sabonis is questionable in this game, but our NBA Insiders tool suggests he is more likely than not to suit up. Malcolm Brogdon has been out for 10 games with a hamstring injury and is a game-time decision. Role players Edmond Sumner and Aaron Holiday are also listed as questionable to play Tuesday.

Sabonis will be the most important player for the Pacers as their frontcourt has been shorthanded without Myles Turner; the Pacers don’t have any other bigs who can make up for Sabonis’ scoring or passing ability.

Sabonis has a favorable matchup against the below-average rim protection from Hornets bigs and he can use his size advantage to score down low and/or collapse the defense and kick out to open shooters.

He should be able to consistently get favorable matchups when the Hornets’ switch-heavy defense matches him up with a smaller player. Defensively, he will need to step up as the last line of defense and communicate actively while guarding athletic bigs like Washington and Bridges.

Brogdon’s presence would be a big boost for the Pacers, but he hasn’t played since April 29. Even if he plays, he likely won’t be 100%, so if you are a live bettor, be sure to monitor how he looks early.

Caris LeVert has been an inefficient volume scorer for the Pacers overall this season, although he has shown increased chemistry with Sabonis down the stretch. LeVert has impressed as a pick-and-roll distributor lately without Brogdon available, and he has also improved his true shooting to 55% on 24.8 points per game in May.

Indy’s role players Oshae Brissett, T.J. McConnell, and Doug McDermott will also need to step up as scorers on the perimeter and make 3s. While the rookie Brissett hadn’t played a game in the NBA before April 6, he has been one of the few reasons for optimism for the Pacers down the stretch. His 42.3% accuracy on 3s leads the Pacers this season, and the Pacers have been 8.0 points better per 100 possessions with him on than off the floor this season.

McConnell will play an important role in pestering the Hornets’ guards with his on-ball defense as he ranks second in the NBA (behind only Jimmy Butler) with 1.9 steals per game. His playmaking as a passer and underrated three-level scoring will be even more important if Brogdon, Sumner, or Aaron Holiday are out.

While McConnell doesn’t take many 3s (and only has made 34% of his 3s, excluding heaves and garbage time), he is shooting at 63% at the rim (70th percentile among point guards) and 56% in the midrange (98th percentile). McDermott will also play a key scoring role with his 3-point shooting and cutting.

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Hornets-Pacers Pick

Update (6:15 p.m. ET): Caris LeVert will surprisingly miss the game due to health and safety protocols for the next 10-14 days. Domantas Sabonis will play while Malcolm Brogdon, Aaron Holiday and Edmond Sumner will all be available.

With LeVert out and Brogdon playing at less than 100% (he is expected to play in 5-6 minute stints), take the Hornets at +103 to win outright or wait to bet them live at +130 or better. The Pacers will miss LeVert’s scoring and distributing, and Brogdon will have to be great in his first game in three weeks for the Pacers to win. Take Terry Rozier, Lonzo Ball and Miles Bridges to lead the Hornets to the slight upset. 

If the Pacers have Sabonis available, I expect them to win. He has averaged a triple-double (22.2 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 10.0 assists) over the past month and will be a matchup nightmare for the Hornets. LeVert’s recent improvement alongside him as a scorer and distributor should be enough to lead the Pacers to a home victory, even if Brogdon remains out.

Rozier and Bridges have been impressive, but Ball’s 3-point shot being less effective since his wrist injury and the inconsistency of other Hornets shooters concerns me. The Pacers’ role players like McConnell and Brissett trending up also will lead to value on the Pacers as these two can pick up the slack next to Sabonis and LeVert if Brogdon is out.

The Pacers went 7-2-1 against the spread in May and have also covered in five straight home games, per Bet Labs. Conversely, the Hornets have covered in just one of their past seven games as road underdogs.

The Pacers opened as half-point favorites but are now 2.5-point favorites as of Tuesday morning. Based on the lingering injuries, I see three ways of betting this matchup.

If Brogdon and Sabonis both play, I think the Pacers have value 3.5-point favorites or better or at -115 or better live moneyline after a Hornets run.

If Brogdon is out but Sabonis plays (considering recent history, this feels most likely), I see value in betting the Pacers’ live moneyline at +100 or better as this will be a close game with lead-changes, and thus there will be better value available after the game tips.

If Sabonis is out, take the Hornets to win outright at -120 or better as they will win the perimeter-oriented battle, whether Brogdon plays or not.

Be sure to check monitor Action Labs for the most updated injury information on this game before placing your bets.

Pick: Live bet the Pacers based on injury news

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