Boston Celtics (5-1) at Charlotte Hornets (4-3)
NBA: Thursday, November 7th, 2019 at 8:00 pm ET (Spectrum Center)
Line and Odds: Boston Celtics -7.5 Over/Under: 215
Free ESPN NBA Picks Charlotte Hornets vs. Boston Celtics
The new-look Boston Celtics are playing with a cohesion they seemed to be lacking last year. The previous season was hampered by drama on the team’s roster and lack of chemistry among the players. Most experts expected the Celtics to take a step back this season with the loss of talent like Kyrie Irving and Al Horford. However, the Celtics have played at a high level with a core of players that includes Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, and Gordon Hayward. Boston currently has a 5-1 record, which places them 1st in the Eastern Conference. The only team in the entire NBA with a better record than the Celtics is the 6-1 Los Angeles Lakers. Boston’s lone loss came on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers 107-93 in the opener. Most of their 5 wins came against poor teams (Knicks twice, Cavaliers), but they do have a couple of quality wins. Boston beat the defending champion Toronto Raptors 112-106 in the 2nd game of the season. The Celtics also beat the Eastern Conference favorites, the Milwaukee Bucks, 116-105, to secure their 3rd win of the season.
Boston ranks 6th in both point differential and net rating. The Celtics have outscored their opponents by an average of 5.67 points per game and 5.6 points per 100 possessions. They rank in the top-half of the league in offense and defense. Boston ranks 12th in offensive rating, scoring 108.9 points per 100 possessions. The biggest strength of the offensive is their ability to run good offense without turning the ball over. They turn the ball over on just 10.6% of their offensive plays, ranking 1st in offensive turnover percentage. This helps mitigate their mediocre shooting numbers. Boston ranks 17th in effective field goal percentage, shooting for an eFG% of 50.9%. They rank 26th in offensive rebounding percentage, which also limits their offensive prowess. The Celtics are 9th in defensive rating, giving up 103.3 points per 100 possessions. They are 11th in effective field goal percentage defense and 9th in defensive turnover percentage. However, they have a tendency to foul their opponents at a high rate. Boston defense ranks 22nd in free throw attempts allowed per 100 possessions.
A strong argument could be made that the Charlotte Hornets have been the biggest surprise through the first 3 weeks of the NBA season. Charlotte entered the season with the worst preseason odds to win the NBA title and the lowest projected win total in the entire league. The Hornets’ preseason odds to win the championship were 2000-to-1 and their season over/under was set at 23.5 wins. Despite the doubters coming into the season, the Hornets have a 4-3 record through 7 games. Charlotte is the only team projected to win less than 29 games by oddsmakers in the preseason, to have a winning record right now. They are currently 6th-place in the Eastern Conference. Charlotte won their opener 126-125 over the Chicago Bulls, before losing 3 straight games. Those three losses came to tough teams: the Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Clippers. They followed up that 3 game losing streak with their current 3 game winning streak over the Kings, Warriors, and Pacers. The Hornets have leaned on a strong nucleus of 6 players that all average 11 or more points a game, including Devonte’ Graham, Terry Rozier, PJ Washington, and Cody Zeller.
While their overall record looks nice at this point in the season, they haven’t impressed from a statistical perspective. The Hornets rank 25th out of 30 NBA teams in terms of net rating, getting outscored by 5.6 points per 100 possessions. They rank 20th in offensive rating, scoring 106.3 points per 100 possessions. Charlotte shoots it well from the field and hit the offensive glass with intensity. They rank 8th in effective field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, and offensive rebound percentage. However, they struggle with turnovers and free throws. Charlotte ranks 24th in turnover percentage, giving the ball away on 15.6% of their offensive plays. The Hornets are 23rd in free throw attempts per 100 possessions and 28th in free throw percentage. They rank 25th in defensive rating, giving up 111.9 points per 100 possessions. Charlotte is 26th in effective field goal percentage defense and defensive rebound percentage. However, they rank 1st in opponents’ free throws attempted per 100 possessions (16.9). In totality, their statistics are not as strong as their record might suggest.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Boston’s last 8 games.
Boston is 5-0 SU in their last 5 games.
Boston is 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 games against Charlotte.
Charlotte is 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 games.
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Charlotte’s last 5 games against Boston.
Charlotte is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games when playing at home against Boston.
ESPN NBA Scores Boston Celtics vs. Charlotte Hornets
I’m taking the Charlotte Hornets +7.5 in this matchup. I acknowledge that the Hornets’ 4-3 record is a bit misleading. They’ve had some trouble on both ends of the floor, so I don’t expect their hot streak to go deep into the season. However, 7.5 points is too many for this game. Charlotte has a team that hurt Boston in a number of ways. The Hornets are dangerous from the floor and I expect them to shoot well from 2-point and 3-point range. Charlotte will create 2nd chance opportunities by getting offensive rebounds on a Boston team that isn’t that great at getting defensive boards. The Hornets struggle to hit free throws, but they will get more opportunities than usual to hit some because of Boston’s tendency to foul offensive players. Boston’s offense is fine, but not strong enough to scare me off of this pick. They don’t shoot particularly well and they don’t rebound offensively. Charlotte’s defense rarely fouls its opponents, so I don’t expect Boston to put up many points in this one. Take the home underdog in this one.