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NBA Odds & Picks for Hornets vs. Lakers: Fade LeBron and Los Angeles against LaMelo Ball and Co.

NBA Odds & Picks for Hornets vs. Lakers: Fade LeBron and Los Angeles against LaMelo Ball and Co. article feature image

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: LaMelo Ball #2 and Terry Rozier #3 of the Charlotte Hornets.

  • The Charlotte Hornets will head to Staples Center to face the Los Angeles Lakers on the second night of a back-to-back Thursday night.
  • LaMelo Ball's comments about playing in his hometown arena against LeBron James for the first time might have raised the stakes for this game.
  • LaMelo Ball's comments about playing in his hometown arena against LeBron James for the first time might have raised the stakes for this game.

Hornets vs. Lakers Odds

Hornets Odds +8
Lakers Odds -8
Moneyline +275 / -350
Over/Under 225.5
Time 10:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Thursday and via BetMGM

Less than 24 hours removed from a beatdown at the hands of the Nuggets, the Hornets will turn right around and try things again against the red-hot Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers recovered from a six-game stumble to win five of their past seven games, navigating injuries to several key players to re-establish itself as a power in the West.

A game after they needed a big fourth quarter to cover a large spread against Minnesota, though, will the Lakers have their hands full with LaMelo Ball in his homecoming? Let’s dig into the numbers to find out.

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Charlotte Hornets

After winning five of six against some middling competition, the Hornets failed their litmus test on Wednesday night, losing by 25 at the hands of the Nuggets. Now, just one night later, they’re tasked with taking down LeBron James and the Lakers.

Though the competition level may prove to be too much for Charlotte once again, the fact that this is the second night of a back-to-back shouldn’t. The Hornets are 5-3 against the spread with no rest this season, winning four of those games outright. After a loss, the Hornets have been an even stronger team to back, with a 12-6 record against the spread per Bet Labs.

Coming straight off a loss shouldn’t be too much of an issue for the Hornets, but shooting 3-pointers could be, though. The Lakers rank sixth against 3s this season, while the Hornets are sixth themselves with a 36.4% 3-point conversion rate.

Charlotte shot at least 40% from deep in four of its past five games before its shooters flopped against the Nuggets, going 12-of-38 from behind the arc. The Hornets, unsurprisingly, have only won three out of 13 games in which they’ve hit fewer than 36% of their 3-pointers.

One other storyline to watch here, if you’re into that kind of thing, will be a homecoming of sorts for Ball, who grew up just outside of LA in Chino Hills. Ball has taken hold of the starting role at point guard, leading all rookies with 15.7 points, 6.2 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game.

Aside from his debut or first career start, it’s unlikely any regular season game will be as big as this one for him this year, and Ball has shown the ability to rise to the occasion time and time again.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers have been ravaged by injury this season, and are still limping heading into this one. The team is still, of course, without the services of star big man Anthony Davis, and have ruled Marc Gasol (health and safety protocols) and Alex Caruso (concussion) out for Thursday.

This has forced Damian Jones into action as the starting five, which is hardly an exciting sentence, and Talen Horton-Tucker has been getting plenty of run with the second unit without Caruso.

Despite having to scrounge together a rotation with three important players out, the Lakers come into this one pretty hot, winning five of their last seven games and covering in all but one of them. Most recently, they covered a large 7.5-point spread against the Timberwolves on Tuesday, despite beginning the second half with just a one-point lead.

Eight points may just prove to be too many for the Lakers to cover. Not only are they a lackluster 20-20 ATS this season, they’re also 6-8 ATS when favored by eight or more points.

With that said, they have covered an impressive five of seven games where they’ve held a rest advantage, as they will on Thursday.

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Hornets-Lakers Pick

Despite the Lakers’ recent ATS success, I find it hard to have any faith in them to cover a spread this large against a team that has produced some of its best basketball on the second night of back-to-backs.

It’s important to remember that L.A.’s run of covers has come as the books began to lose faith in the team, either setting it as an underdog or a very short favorite. Getting back out to a favorite of this magnitude, without Anthony Davis, is a terrifying thought.

The Timberwolves and their 26th-ranked offense are one thing. These Hornets, who sit just outside the top 10 in Offensive Efficiency over the past 10 games, are another. Charlotte’s stellar shooting could prove to be a deciding factor in who covers here against a Lakers defense that has slipped ever so slightly of late, and is missing three of its rocks on that end.

I also will back the profitable trends here, which are to fade the Lakers always, and back the Hornets off a loss or on a back-to-back. Ball should raise his level for a meeting with James, and we should be treated to a nice, close affair in L.A.

Pick: Hornets +8 (-110)

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