Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Charlotte Team Total over 109½ -110
8:10 PM EST. The Charlotte Hornets certainly haven't looked very good to open their season. After a sterling first game where they upset the Atlanta Hawks in front of their home fans, that version of the Hornets has already vanished into thin air. Lonzo Ball, their star facilitator and scorer, has been clumsy in their last two losses. Already shooting and missing way too many three-pointers (6/24) in his first three games, Ball tends to get overconfident and ahead of himself at his worst. At his best, he approaches the game primarily as a facilitator and a humble, opportunistic shooter. In the Hornets last two contests, both losses, Ball is a disgusting 7/29 (24%) from the field. Charlotte tends to go as their star goes, and that's no different in this situation. The Hornets are shooting 25% from beyond the arc and 43% from the field in two previous battles. We expect greater results from the Hornets tonight, especially considering their opponent.
The Houston Rockets are 0-3 but the market still likes what it's seeing enough to post them as the home favorite. Led by new coach Ime Udoka, who once nearly led the Celtics to an NBA title, the Rockets are playing competitive basketball and some of their young talent is starting to bloom. Guard Jalen Green and big-man Apleren Sengun lead them in scoring, and new surrounding talent like Dillon Brooks, Freddie VanFleet, and Reggie Bullock are veterans who can boost their output.
In Houston's last game on Sunday, their first showing in front of a home crowd, they held the vaunted Warriors to just 106 points in a close loss. Oddsmakers' like what they saw defensively from Houston, thus a low total and low expected points for Charlotte tonight. A closer look tells us that the Warriors were on the first game of a back-to-back with the Pelicans on deck, and they were clearly coasting in the second half considering the circumstances, scoring only 49 points in quarters three and four.
Needless to say but we'll say it anyway, a Hornets' offense due for positive regression, and one that's facing off against the 27th ranked Rockets' defense tonight, is hardly an intimidating situation. Fast-paced, small-ball lineups are a strain for Houston's defense, a group that prefers to move slowly and feed their bigs en-route to success. After two below-average showings from Charlotte, we like Lonzo Ball and his supporting cast to show up big tonight in their first game away from home.
Charlotte Team Total over 109½ -110 (Risking 2.2 units - To Win: 2.00)