Hornets vs. 76ers Odds & Picks: How to Play Monday’s Over/Under (Jan. 4)
David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Devonte’ Graham, Seth Curry
- The Philadelphia 76ers and Charlotte Hornets will meet for the second time in three nights on Monday night.
- Nicholas Alfano thinks the familiarity between the two teams should allow the defenses to star.
Hornets vs. 76ers Odds
|Hornets Odds||+9.5 [BET NOW]|
|76ers Odds||-9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+340 / -460 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||219 [BET NOW]|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds as of Sunday night and via PointsBet.|
This season, the NBA took a page out of Major League Baseball’s book by having teams play the occasional two-game series. We have the most recent example of this COVID-induced schedule quirk on Monday night, as the 76ers host the Hornets for the second time in three days.
Philly beat Charlotte, 127-112, on Saturday through efficient contributions from Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Seth Curry and a triple-double from Ben Simmons. The Sixers shot 59.5% from the field, while the Hornets got a 35-point outing from Terry Rozier, resulting in a season-high total for both teams.
In Monday’s rematch, familiarity will be a factor, allowing the defensive DNA in these squads to show out.
To put it simply, Charlotte is not an offensive juggernaut. The Hornets rank mostly in the bottom half of the league in all major traditional and advanced offensive categories. Yet, they’ve found intermittent early season success through a commitment to defense.
Entering Sunday’s league action, Charlotte ranks sixth in Opponent Field Goal Attempts at 85.5 per game, and fifth in Opponent Second Chance Points at 10.5 per game. The Hornets are keeping opponents to one-and-done offensive trips, eliminating put-backs and quick kick-out opportunities off rebounds. Against the Sixers, this means boxing out the elite rebounding trio of Embiid, Simmons and Harris.
The key to Charlotte’s defense will be Devonte’ Graham. He has the third-highest Defensive Win Share total (.19) among players that average 20 or more minutes per game. This means his defense is already worth close to 20% of one win to the Hornets through only six games. Charlotte will need Graham to step it up to have a chance against the Sixers.
On offense, 73.9% of Charlotte’s made field goals are assisted, which is the highest in the NBA by a wide margin. Essentially, the Hornets need to move the ball well to score. In their second consecutive game against the Sixers, one of the best defenses in the league, that will be a tough task.
Sure, it’s possible that Gordon Hayward and LaMelo Ball will play ISO ball and score an outrageous amount of unassisted baskets while Rozier puts up another 30 points. Almost as possible as my prospects of beating Kevin Durant in a game of H.O.R.S.E. Someone want to set this H.O.R.S.E game up prior to tip off tomorrow?
Philadelphia’s defense makes it a legitimate title contender…if the Sixers can stay focused. Every single player that registered minutes against Charlotte on Saturday has the ability to play elite defense.
Prior to Sunday’s games, The Sixers have the best Defensive Rating in the league (99.7), and are first in Opponent Effective Field Goal Percentage (47.7%). Philly has a star defender at each position, and now has a game’s-worth of experience against Charlotte.
Looking at the individual leaders in Defensive Win Shares is like looking at the Sixers roster! Of players averaging 20 minutes or more per game, Embiid and Harris are tied for the league lead and are the only two players ranked above Graham! Guard Shake Milton is a stout defender rarely talked about, and he ranks ninth in Defensive Win Shares.
Do not forget Ben Simmons, who consistently guards the opposing team’s best player and is always in the Defensive Player of Year conversation.
As a new head coach, Doc Rivers wants to show he can get a veteran team to commit to defense for an entire season. He’ll look to build on Saturday’s performance against Charlotte, where they let up 112 points. Expect the Sixers to hold the Hornets well below that mark this time around.
Philly possesses a gifted defense. However, in Saturday’s easy win against Charlotte, the Sixers’ offense was the difference. They nailed almost 60% of their shots from the field and hit over 45% of their 3-pointers. Unfortunately for Sixers fans, these numbers are outliers. They’ll need to rely on lockdown defense instead of shooting to earn this victory.
Due to the high-scoring finish between these two teams on Saturday, this total is slightly inflated. Great news for me, as I would’ve taken the under anyway!
Backing the under is rarely a fun time, but these defensive trends are too apparent to pass up. I’ll happily add this under to my card.
Pick: Under 219, down to 217