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NBA Betting Picks

Welcome to the Tuesday, March 19 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: 48-37-1 (.565)
Moneyline: 28-9 (.757)
Over/Under: 24-14-1 (.632)

3/19/19 NBA Betting Pick:

Philadelphia 76ers (45-25) vs. Charlotte Hornets (31-38)

DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: 76ers -1.5 (o/u: 224.5)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: 76ers -1 (o/u: 224)
888 Sportsbook Odds: 76ers -1.5 (o/u: 224.5)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: 76ers -1.5 (o/u: 223.5)

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The Breakdown

After missing the postseason altogether last season, the Hornets had surely envisioned a bounce-back campaign with the ultra-talented Kemba Walker leading the way. However, inconsistency has once again been the story of Charlotte’s season. The Hornets haven’t been able to muster anything longer than a three-game winning streak all year. And while that also represents the length of their longest skid, Charlotte has simply been too ineffective on the road (10-24) to offset a solid home mark (21-14). Plus, they’ve shown an unfortunate penchant for falling short in tight games.

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The good news for the chances of a Hornets cover Tuesday is that the game unfolds on their friendly home floor of Spectrum Center. Granted, the Hornets are only 7-9 at Spectrum against winning teams (as of today’s standings). However, a closer look reveals they’ve endured single-digit losses there to the Bucks (by one), the Thunder (by four), the 76ers (by three, in OT), the Clippers (by two), the Nets (by two), and the Rockets (by five). Additionally, Charlotte has played Philadelphia extremely close in all three meetings this season, even though they’ve come up short in each. In addition to the just-cited overtime loss, the Hornets dropped games by two points and one point (in OT) in Philadelphia.

The Hornets should feel plenty of urgency tonight, especially after their performance Sunday against a team they’re desperately trying to catch for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. Charlotte fell to the Miami Heat by a 93-75 score at American Airlines Arena. They scored a grand total of 60 points through three quarters and mustered a meager 15 in the final 12 minutes. That contest was the culmination of a four-game road trip in which the Hornets limped to a 1-3 record. Now back on their home floor, they should certainly be primed for a much better performance.

Charlotte’s home metrics suggest they’ll be much more competitive against the 76ers than they were on the road Sunday. The Hornets are averaging a solid 112.5 points per game (on 46.0 percent shooting) and allowing 108.5 points per Spectrum Center contest. The latter figure ranks in the top half of the NBA for home teams. Furthermore, they’ll walk into the game with a sizable advantage already in place. The 76ers have announced they’ll rest Joel Embiid for this contest. In Embiid’s recent eight-game absence, Philly went a modest 4-4. And they averaged only 108.6 points per game over that span. That’s in sharp contrast to their 115.1 seasonal figure.

Finally, take a quick look at the stats for the Hornets’ two most important offensive weapons against Philly this year:

  • Kemba Walker: 42.3 PPG (most against any team), 6.7 RPG, 6.3 APG, 2.0 SPG  (three games)
  • Jeremy Lamb: 16.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.0 SPG (three games)

By The Numbers

The 76ers are 33-37 (47.1 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes a 14-19 mark (42.4 percent) as an away team and a 5-9 tally (35.7 percent) as an away favorite. Philadelphia is also 17-27 (38.6 percent) versus the number in games following a win and 19-23 (45.2 percent) against the spread in conference games.

The Hornets are 3-3-1 (50.0 percent) against the spread as home underdogs and 17-17-2 (50.0 percent) versus the number in games they’ve played with one day of rest. Charlotte is also 23-22 (51.1 percent) against the spread in conference games.

Finally, the three prior meetings between the teams this season have been decided by a total of six points, with two going to overtime.

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The Final Word

The 76ers don’t exactly have the best track record versus the spread, and the Hornets have proven very capable of playing them competitively this season. Philadelphia figures to still be a bit on the sluggish side after their drag-out win over the Bucks on Sunday. Plus, the fact Embiid will sit Tuesday certainly is a significant factor in Charlotte’s chances of a cover. As was corroborated during Embiid’s recent multi-game absence due to injury, Philadelphia is a significantly less potent team offensively without their big man on the court. With the Hornets in desperate need of a win and looking to bounce back from Sunday’s embarrassing loss to the Heat, I see them doing enough here for at least a cover.

The Lean: Hornets +1.5