The Indiana Pacers could jump half a game ahead of the New York Knicks for the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference with a win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday in Indiana.
The Pacers have won seven of their last 10 games and are looking more and more like the real deal behind the play of potential All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton.
The Hornets, on the other hand, have the second worst record in the Eastern Conference this season and may be better off tanking for a top spot in the draft lottery. The Hornets are down wing Kelly Oubre Jr. at the moment, and forward Gordon Hayward is listed as doubtful for this game.
For Indiana, rookie Bennedict Mathurin is listed as questionable with a left shoulder injury. He is joined on the injury report by Jalen Smith (questionable, hand).
This should be a winnable game for the Pacers, who are 5-3 against the spread as home favorites this season. A win would be huge heading into a week where the Pacers play the Knicks, especially since they can get out of the play-in tournament field for now with a victory.
Let’s jump into the odds and a pick for this game:
Hornets vs. Pacers odds, spread and total
Hornets vs. Pacers prediction and pick
The Hornets have actually been serviceable against the spread as road dogs this season (9-7-2), so I’m going to look to the total for my best bet in this game.
These two teams play at fast paces, ranking seventh (Indiana) and eighth (Charlotte) in the NBA this season.
Even with Hayward likely out, I still think there is value in taking the OVER, especially since both teams have struggled on the defensive end.
Charlotte ranks 26th in the league in defensive rating while Indiana comes in at No. 21. The Pacers are a much better offense (Charlotte ranks dead last), but the return of LaMelo Ball makes the Hornets a little more dynamic on the offensive end.
The Pacers have put up over 120 points in four of their last five games, and Charlotte is coming off a 138-point game in its last game.
These teams could get into a track meet, so the OVER is the way I lean for this matchup.
Find Peter Dewey’s full betting record here.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.