NBA Odds & Picks for Hornets vs. 76ers: Total Presents Value Thanks to Philly’s Stout Defense
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid.
- Charlotte hits the road Saturday to face Philadlephia in NBA action.
- The Hornets have beaten the Nets and Mavs this year but have lost to the Cavs, Thunder and Grizzlies.
- Matt Trebby looks for better value in Charlotte's trip to the city of Brotherly Love below.
Hornets vs. 76ers Odds
|Hornets Odds||+9.5 [BET NOW]|
|76ers Odds||-9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+360 / -490 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||214 [BET NOW]|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
It’s fair to say that bettors have been flummoxed by the Charlotte Hornets through five games this season. They have beaten two teams with MVP candidates and championship aspirations, yet suffered losses to the three of the league’s supposed cellar dwellers.
A win over the Philadelphia 76ers would fit the mold for Charlotte then, right?
Well, Philadelphia isn’t a good matchup for any team in the league right now. The Sixers are playing defense at a very high level, with Joel Embiid looking like he’s en route to the best season of his career.
Let’s try to find the value in this one.
So, let’s get this straight: The Hornets started their season by losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Oklahoma City Thunder, only to beat the Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks in their next two games. And then, Charlotte went and lost by 15 points Friday to the Ja Morant-less Memphis Grizzlies.
That all makes sense.
Charlotte lost Cody Zeller last week for 4-to-6 weeks due to a fractured left hand, leaving it relatively undersized. The Hornets are starting 6-foot-9 Bismack Biyombo in Zeller’s place, alongside the 6-foot-7 P.J. Washington and Gordon Hayward. Miles Bridges, also 6-foot-7, comes off the bench and is averaging just shy of 26 minutes per game.
The Hornets’ biggest problem will be defending Embiid, who is having a great start to the season that we’ll get to in a bit. They match up well with Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons, but not the Sixers’ big man.
Offensively, the Hornets are being led by Hayward and Terry Rozier, although that didn’t work out well against the Grizzlies.
In his second season with the team, Rozier’s improvement through four games could easily be identified through his field-goal percentage, which last year was 42.3 percent and now up to 50.7% entering Friday’s game.
Hayward, who was teammates with Rozier in Boston, made offseason headlines with the massive contract he got in Charlotte. In the Hornets’ first four games, he looked like he had plenty left in the tank, filling up the stat sheet with 19.8 points per game, six assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals.
And then the loss to Memphis happened. Hayward had just 14 points on 5 of 13 shooting, while Rozier came crashing back down to earth by going 1 for 11 from the field and scoring just six points.
Normally, I’d expect some significant positive regression with the Hornets playing the next night, but this matchup with the Sixers is not ideal for that to happen.
Charlotte’s biggest test is going to be keeping the Sixers off the offensive boards. The Hornets entered their game Friday ranking 20th in the league with a 72.8 defensive rebounding percentage, while Philly ranked seventh with a 28.9% rate on the offensive glass.
Through five games, the 76ers are the best NBA team under new head coach Doc Rivers. Philadelphia entered play Friday leading the league with a defensive rating of 98.0, according to NBA.com. The Sixers also ranked fourth in the league in rebounding percentage at 53.4.
That’s the good news. On the offensive end, it’s a different story for Philly, with many stats painting the story of a slow start.
The Sixers’ 103.9 offensive rating was 24th in the NBA entering Friday. Philly’s assist percentage of 57.6 ranked 21st, while its 1.26 assist-to-turnover ratio is 26th. Its 50.8 effective field goal percentage is 23rd.
The 76ers’ offensive struggles aren’t due to the play of Embiid, though. The big man is fourth in the NBA in efficiency, averaging 26.5 points and 12.3 rebounds. Obviously, it’s very early, but Embiid’s 52.3% shooting from the field and 82.5% mark from the free-throw line would be career highs.
His previous high field-goal percentage was two years ago when he shot 48.4%, a number that is staggeringly low for a player of Embiid’s size and skill.
The Hornets are without Zeller, so Biyombo will be the main man on Embiid.
Philadelphia is also getting very productive shooting from Tobias Harris (47.2 field goal percentage, 45.8 3-point) and Seth Curry (52.2 from the field, 51.9 from beyond the arc).
Aside from those two and Embiid, the Sixers pack quite a small punch offensively. Ben Simmons is no perimeter threat and Shake Milton is shooting 40% from the field and 26.3% from 3-point land.
Neither of these teams ranked highly in offensive rating entering Friday, with Charlotte at 19th and Philadelphia 23rd overall. Both are thriving defensively, though, with the Sixers topping the defensive rating charts and Charlotte sitting seventh.
These teams rank in the teens in pace, so this game should be played at an average NBA speed.
Taking all of that into account, it would make sense that this isn’t a high-scoring game. That means I don’t feel too comfortable with the nearly double-digit spread, so we look to the total for value.
Neither offense has been particularly explosive this season, so we’ll go with the under at 214.
Pick: Under 214 (down to 212.5)