What a way to ring in the New Year as we cashed a ticket on the over in the Warriors-Jazz game. Although the total might’ve looked a bit high, our handicap was spot-on as both teams rained three-pointers combining for 31 in the game. I’ve got my sights set on yet another total, but this one seems a bit overvalued.
Let’s head to Queen City, where the Hornets will host the Phoenix Suns.
There have been plenty of points in Hornets’ games this season as the total is 20-15-1 to the over. However, the Hornets are currently on a three-game winning streak, and it’s their defense that might just be carrying the team at the moment. The total has often been set relatively high in their games, but it’s only natural that some regression will occur. I always questioned whether the Hornets could succeed if they continued to play with a lack of discipline on defense.
Charlotte is currently 19-17 as it occupies the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. Last season, it qualified for the playoff play-in tournament as the tenth seed but lost 144-117 to the Pacers. If Charlotte wants to improve on that mark, it’ll need to continue to show more commitment in its defensive responsibilities. The Hornets rank 28th this season in defensive efficiency as they’re allowing 110.7 points per 100 possessions. However, they’re allowing 99 points per 100 possessions during this three-game winning streak, which is the third-best mark in the league during that span. Oddsmakers will likely keep posting a high total for their games, so this is the right time to be a bit contrarian and take the under in their games.
The Hornets will be up against a Suns team that lost 123-108 away on the road to the Celtics. Phoenix has been an excellent bet to tighten the screws defensively after losing by double-digits. In this spot, the total is 4-0-1 to the under. The total is also 8-1-2 to the under when the Suns face a team with a winning percentage at home that’s above .600. Lastly, the under has cashed in each of the Hornets’ last four games.
I think we’ve got a few more games before the sportsbooks adjust their totals even more for Hornets games. Let’s take advantage of it while we still can.
Play this one under the total.
Pick: Over 222.5 (-118)
All NBA predictions and picks are courtesy of SportsGrid.