What a way to start this year’s NBA Play-In Tournament.
The Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves both advanced to the NBA Playoffs in spectacular fashion on the first night’s matches. Night 2, the Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks, San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans are each excluded in a double-header of must-win games.
The winners will continue to play on Friday and the losers will, well, we hear Cancun is nice at this time of year.
Our NBA experts are everywhere in both games and see that some player props will appreciate plus a game on one of Wednesday’s underdogs. Take a look at their in-depth analysis and best bets on Wednesday’s matches below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Charlotte Hornets Vs. Atlanta Hawks
Matt Moore: Capela averaged 13 rebounds and played just 27.9 minutes in four games against the Hornets. So if we subtract his minutes to over 33 or more, we’re well on our way to that number.
The Hornets place a shift schedule that brings their stores further and further out on the edge. It leaves the inside vulnerable to a good rebounder like Capela without any major things to rule him out.
According to Second Spectrum Data, Capela has a 16.1 RAP + (Rebound Adjusted Percentage +) against the Hornets, a metric that defines your success rate in terms of positioning and how often you go for a rebound. To put that in perspective, Nikola Jokic leads the league this season with a RAP + of 7.9.
Even with average pace and so many 3-pointers from the Hornets, I expect Capela to get 13 or more boards in this matchup. You can play 12.5 (-135) at WynnBet or 13.5 (+100) at BetMGM, but I would not play the last 14.
Charlotte Hornets Vs. Atlanta Hawks
Brandon Andersen: When Gordon Hayward was put on the sidelines after the All-Star Break, I wondered if it was curtains for these Charlotte Hornets. Hayward had been so important to this team, and without much defense to be found, it did not look like Charlotte would have enough offensive without Hayward’s layered play and versatile skills.
Instead, the Hornets have gone the other way. They are 14-8 since the break, pretty much all without Hayward, and they have the offensive rating No. 2 during that time per game. NBA Advanced Stats. They are also quietly up to 18th place in defense and 10th place in Net Rating. I will not make too much out of these assessments because of the number of tank teams too late, but even a jump to the average defense makes sense for this team. The offensive leap has also been remarkable.
Without Hayward, Charlotte has screwed up her 3s and turned more of the offensive than ever into the LaMelo Ball, and second place has been ready. He has an average of 4.4 3s per. match at 48% over the last 14 matches, while Terry Rozier and Miles Bridges are also over 40% since the break. Atlanta has no reason to believe they will stop Charlotte.
On the other hand, the Hornets defense has been surprisingly good against the Hawks, mostly because they defend Trae Young about as well as anyone in the league. Charlotte will look to get Rozier and others to chase Young all over the court, force the ball out of his hands and deny him the ball so he can not get it back. The Hawks’ attack is just not that dangerous when Young does not do everything, especially with John Collins on the sidelines.
These teams feel pretty evenly matched for me. I think the game is close to a coin change and will probably come down to which team 3s fall. However, we get +168 on the Hornets’ money line, an implied 37% that makes Atlanta close to a 2-1 favorite.
I’m not sure Atlanta’s home crowd is much of a factor here, and I think that’s too much respect for the Hawks. I want to take my chances with the Hornets keeping their season alive.
San Antonio Spurs vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Joe Dellera: Dejounte Murray is Spurs’ brightest young star and has been incredible this season and has been a darling.
One of our favorite games this season was Dejounte going over 17.5 rebounds and assists and this is a game we will be playing back tonight. Although the Pelicans are a pace down spot, the Spurs are still playing at the third fastest pace in the league, and their adjusted defensive rating is just 19th in the league.
This season, Murray has managed his RA line in 53% of games, including 3 of 4 against the Pelicans. The thing about the off-season is that the stars generally play several minutes of distress – especially here when it’s literally win or go home.
Last season, the Grizzlies defeated the Spurs in the No. 9 game against No. 10, and Murray delivered 10 points, 11 assists and 13 rebounds in 38.9 minutes. It surpasses his season average in minutes and I expect him to play at least 38 minutes tonight, which is about four minutes more than his normal season average. This season, Murray has only played 38 minutes or more in 13 games in the regular season, but he has cleared 17.5 RA in 10 of those games.
In addition, he has recorded a triple double in six of these matches – it is definitely worth sprinkling. Triple-double odds are a bit over all, but consensus is +425, and if you have the ability to build this, I was able to snatch 10+ assists and 10+ rebounds at Bet365 for +600 odds.
Bet Dejounte Murray shows up tonight on a national stage.
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