NBA Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Bucks vs. Hornets Preview (Tuesday, April 27)
Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo.
- The Charlotte Hornets are back on national TV after an impressive win on Sunday over the Celtics.
- The Bucks, though, are a bad matchup for a Charlotte team clinging to a playoff spot in the East.
- Brandon Anderson breaks down where he sees betting value on the line below.
Bucks vs. Hornets Odds
|Moneyline||-500 / +325|
|Time||Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday and via PointsBet|
The Charlotte Hornets are having a moment.
The Hornets are coming off a huge win on national television on Sunday afternoon, when they led most of the way against the Boston Celtics in a 125-104 victory. The Hornets had a season-high 39 assists and impressed national viewers by getting 20-plus points each from Terry Rozier, Devonte’ Graham, Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington. There was also another monster, highlight-reel Bridges dunk.
The Hornets are back in front of a national audience, though of course this is not what the NBA had in mind. LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward are still missing, losing much of Charlotte’s flavor, but the Hornets have hung tough and sit at .500, holding onto the eight seed for the time being.
The Milwaukee Bucks need no further introduction, though. Can the Hornets pull off a second straight national TV upset?
The Bucks are quietly humming along at 37-23, and they’re probably even better than their record. Milwaukee ranks inside the top eight in the NBA in both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency, per Basketball Reference, and it’s No. 3 in overall Net Rating.
In other words, the Bucks are really good, and at a whole lot of things. Milwaukee scores well both inside and beyond the arc. The Bucks are especially good from deep, hitting nearly 40% of their 3-pointers, second best in the NBA. They’re also one of the best rebounding teams in the league. And on defense, Milwaukee is second best in the NBA inside the arc, holding opponents to just 51% shooting.
The Bucks are as good as any team in the Eastern Conference and have been all season. Giannis Antetokounmpo would be an MVP candidate if voters weren’t all tired of voting for him already the last two years. Khris Middleton is doing his thing, shooting 48/43/89 on the season. Jrue Holiday has been the perfect third addition, playing prickly defense at the point of attack and doing a little bit of everything on offense. Milwaukee has also improved its bench as the season has gone on, and that should be a key advantage here against a struggling Charlotte reserve unit.
Simply put, the Bucks are really good and much better than the Hornets.
The Hornets may be 30-30, but they’ve lost six of nine games and rank just No. 22 in Net Rating, per Basketball Reference. The Hornets are mostly average, or maybe slightly below it. That’s right about where both the offense and defense make, and only electric performance in clutch time has kept Charlotte as high in the standings as it is.
Under head coach James Borrego, Charlotte has consistently done the little things well. The Hornets almost never foul and force a large amount of turnovers, so that’s the strength of the defense. Most Borrego teams don’t turn it over much either, but this team is an exception with the fifth-highest turnover rate in the NBA. Those hidden Borrego team strengths also happen to be the exact same strengths that Mike Budenholzer teams have, so the strength is negated here.
The defense is not so good outside of those hidden strengths. The Hornets allow the most 3-point attempts of any team, and they’re also dead last in 2-point percentage allowed at an ugly 55%. Charlotte also ranks near the bottom of the league in defensive rebounding. If the Hornets can’t force a turnover with their aggressive gambling style, the opponent has a strong chance of scoring. And that spells trouble against a team like Milwaukee that doesn’t turn it over much.
Maybe Charlotte’s offense can keep up? The Hornets rank in the top quartile of the league in 3-point makes and attempts, as well as percent, and Charlotte is one of the league’s better offensive-rebounding teams. But the Hornets also turn the ball over a lot and rate near the bottom of the league scoring inside the arc and getting to the line.
There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors happening here. The Hornets get by, well, by getting by. They get miss shots but crash the offensive glass for easier looks. They don’t score as well as the opponent or stop them on defense, but they win the turnover and rebounding battle to play quantity over quality.
All of that is perfectly good … right up until it isn’t.
The Bucks are the wrong matchup for Charlotte. Milwaukee is far better and perfectly negates some of the key things Charlotte does well, removing its potential rebounding and turnover advantage.
If the Hornets do win, it’ll likely have to be because the Hornets got super hot on 3-point shots. Milwaukee remains vulnerable to giving up a lot of those, though they try to force the worse shooters on the opposing team to take them. Miles Bridges has been hitting more 3-balls lately. He and P.J. Washington are going to have to hit some shots to stay in this one.
The truth, though, is that the Bucks have the matchup advantages and are simply the better team. Charlotte has 30 losses this season, and 22 of them are by at least nine points. Put another way, when the Hornets do lose, they’ve only covered this large spread in eight of 30 games, just 26.7% of the time. So unless you expect the Hornets to win, the numbers think the Bucks should cover.
I don’t expect the Hornets to win, so I’ll take the Bucks cover. I’ll play to -9.5.
Pick: Bucks -9 (play to -9.5)