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Welcome to the Friday, March 1 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for tonight I feel has profit potential at DraftKings SportsbookFanDuel Sportsbook888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.

Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.

Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.

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Season to Date:

ATS Leans/Picks: 45-32-1 (.584)
Moneyline: 25-9 (.735)
Over/Under: 17-11-1 (.607)

3/1/19 NBA Betting Pick:

Charlotte Hornets (28-33) vs. Brooklyn Nets (32-31)

DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Nets -3.5 (o/u: 227.5)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Nets -3.5 (o/u: 227.5)
888 Sportsbook Odds: Nets -3.5 (o/u: 227.5)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Nets -3.5 (o/u: 227.5)

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The Breakdown

The disappointed 2017-18 Hornets missed the playoffs last season thanks to a 36-46 record. Due to a similar level of ineffectiveness this season, especially lately, Charlotte seems to be on that same path. They’ll come into Friday’s game having dropped three straight games and five of their last six. One of their biggest challenges has been winning outside of their home floor of Spectrum Center. They’re 8-21 on the road.

However, Charlotte has taken care of business more often than not in its own conference. And they’ve particularly given the Nets a difficult time. The Hornets own a 21-18 record versus Eastern Conference squads. Then, while they’re just 1-2 against Brooklyn this season, the two losses have been by a combined four points. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s victory was much more decisive. They toppled the Nets by 13 on Dec. 28.

As for the other two meetings, the Nets notched a 134-132 double-overtime win on Dec. 26. Charlotte held a 104-96 lead as late as the 3:20 mark of the fourth quarter before faltering. Then, they nipped the Hornets at Spectrum by a 117-115 margin last Saturday. Charlotte scored an impressive 65 second-half points to erase a big deficit, but their comeback fell just short. When reviewing the season series between the two clubs, it’s also worth noting Brooklyn has consistently had trouble stopping some of the Hornets’ biggest sources of offense:

  • Kemba Walker: 32.0 points (on 48.6 percent shooting, including 47.2 percent from three-point range), 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.7 steals (three games)
  • Nicolas Batum: 52.4 percent shooting, including 50.0 percent from three-point range (three games)
  • Jeremy Lamb: 18.0 points (on 52.6 percent shooting, including 40.0 percent from three-point range), 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists (three games)

While the Hornets have been mired in the aforementioned losing spell, it’s important to keep in mind they’ve faced some of the best teams from either conference during that span. They dropped decisions to the Rockets (by five), the Warriors (by 11), and the Pacers (by nine) in addition to their recent two-point loss to Brooklyn. Curiously, all but one of those four defeats came on their home floor.

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Meanwhile, the Nets have recently found the road to be a friendlier place than Barclays Center. Brooklyn is just 2-4 over its last six home tilts. The Nets were toppled by a nine-point margin courtesy of the Wizards in their last game there Wednesday, a loss that was preceded by defeats at the hands of the Trail Blazers, the Bulls, and the Bucks. None of those stumbles were particularly close, either. Portland notched a 14-point win, and both Chicago and Milwaukee outpaced Brooklyn by a hefty 19 points.

As that sample implies, the Nets have had their share of defensive struggles at home this season. Brooklyn is allowing 113.2 points per home game, the sixth-highest figure in the NBA. That’s a tick more than the 111.8 they’re yielding on the road. The Nets also give up a robust 46.4 percent success rate from the floor at Barclays. And Brooklyn has allowed an average of 119.0 PPG in the aforementioned quartet of home losses.

By The Numbers

The Hornets are 16-14-2 (53.3 percent) against the spread in games they’ve played with one day of rest and 21-18 (53.8 percent) versus the number in conference games. Charlotte is also 15-15-2 (50.0 percent) against the spread in games following a loss.

The Nets are 16-17 (48.5 percent) against the spread as a home team this season and 7-8 (46.7) versus the number as home favorites. Brooklyn is also 15-15 (50.0 percent) against the spread in games following a loss.

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The Final Word

The Nets have a much better record versus the spread than the Hornets. However, Charlotte is an increasingly desperate team in danger of being left out of the playoffs once again. The Hornets have played the Nets extremely tough in all three prior games this season, and Brooklyn has struggled to cover the number at home more often than not. As such, my lean is toward Charlotte sliding in under the slim number.

The Lean: Hornets +3.5

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