With one month remaining in the regular season, tonight we see a matchup with two teams who appear destined for the play-in tournament heading into the playoffs. The 8th placed Charlotte Hornets (32-33) play host to 9th placed Brooklyn Nets (32-33). Check out our NBA Best Bets below for both side and total, as well as a Match Preview for what to expect.
Brooklyn Nets at Charlotte Hornets
Spectrum Center, Tuesday 8th March, 7:00pm EST
The market is finally beginning to lose faith in the Nets. For most of the season, despite their poor record, the market has rated the Nets as a top 1 or 2 team in the outright markets. Now however, the Nets are 5th favourite to win the NBA title, with their odds seemingly growing by the day. They are now out to +800 at Pointsbet, despite the recent return of Superstar Kevin Durant.
Speaking of Durant, he has seamlessly rolled back into a large role in this Nets offense, averaging 34 points per game since his return. The issue so far has been the defence. It’s something that I’m sure the Nets want from recruit Ben Simmons, however there is still no strong word as to when he will be available for the Nets, indicating their defence isn’t going to improve overnight.
The Hornets, meanwhile, are trying their best to put an end to the downward spiral that has been the second half of their season. At 28-22 heading into February, the Hornets looked set to feature in the Playoffs for the first time since the 2015/16 season. They proceeded to lose 11 of their next 13 games, before winning their last two against an understrength Cavs and a stumbling Spurs team, to sit just below .500 at 32-33.
If the Hornets are to rectify this, they will need more from 4th year man Miles Bridges. Bridges is the second favourite to win the Most Improved Player Award, and for the first half of the season led this team along with Terry Rozier and LaMelo Ball in their playoff push. But lately, Bridges has struggled, averaging only 16 PPG over his past 5 games, whilst only shooting 0.469 from the field and 0.273 from deep. The Hornets need Bridges to get out of this funk if they’re to turn this poor form around.
These teams have met once this year, in what was both teams’ 3rd game of the year. The Nets came out strongly, leading by 8 at the half, but the Hornets managed to suffocate the Nets offense in the second half, holding the Nets to only 37 second half points, winning comfortably 111-95.
There doesn’t seem to be any fresh injury concerns, with Gordon Hayward, James Bouknight and Jalen McDaniels remaining out for the Hornets, whilst the Nets have confirmed Joe Harris’ season is done, Ben Simmons remains unavailable and LaMarcus Aldridge and Cam Thomas are confirmed out.
The Nets are extremely difficult to handicap right now, but surely with Durant back up to speed and Kyrie Irving able to play in this one, the Nets will start to win these types of matches. They’ve had a brutal schedule of late, and the Hornets should be a nice downgrade in opponent for the Nets to win comfortably here.
The total is massive (241.5), but both teams don’t appear interested in defence. However, the Nets need to start showing their team defence can play their part too. Look for the Nets to rack up the points early, before doing their best to shut the Hornets down in the second half.