The Charlotte Hornets will face off against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night in a game that will feature a backcourt battle between Terry Rozier and James Harden.
The Rockets are on a two-game winning streak against two pretty good teams (Mavericks, Pelicans), and with Clint Capela potentially back in the lineup, they’ll look to continue this recent hot streak.
The Hornets will be playing back-to-back games and are coming off three straight losses. Now they’ll head from Charlotte to Houston to face the Rockets.
Although the Hornets are a long shot to win this one, the most important question is, who will cover the 14-point spread? Should you take the favored Houston Rockets or the underdog Charlotte Hornets? Let’s look at both teams and make our pick.
Not A Lot Of Sting
As one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference, the ceiling is low for the Hornets this year. Losing four of their last five games and nine of their last 10 is creating a bleak future for anyone calling themselves a Hornets fan.
Even in a game they were close to winning against the San Antonio Spurs, the Hornets ended up shooting themselves in the foot and surrendered a 19-point lead, allowing the Spurs to snag a 114-90 victory on Saturday.
In almost every category on offense, the Hornets have struggled, averaging just 102.96 points per game and shooting 43.2 percent from the field. Considering how bad the Hornets are from the field, it’s hard to envision them being able to contend with Harden, Russell Westbrook and the Rockets.
What I will say as a check in the positive column for the Hornets is how well they’ve done on defense, allowing only 110.5 points per game and ranking 15th in the league. Occasionally they show off this defense, like when they held the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets to only 100 points. The trouble is, their offense can’t bring the same energy.
Against the spread, the Hornets are inching towards the .500 mark, but they seem to only fair well against the spread when they’re favored (which is rare). Overall, the Hornets have a record ATS of 23-25-2 and an ATS road record of 12-13-1.
The Rockets are a team full of talent, but with little to no consistency. Despite all their talent, the Rockets have gone 5-6 over their last 11 games. To add to more inconsistency in Houston, they could be missing Westbrook for this game against the Hornets.
Westbrook being out doesn’t mean all is lost though, as the Rockets still possess one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA in Harden, who is coming off a 40-point game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Considering that Harden was able to carry the Rockets long before Westbrook showed up, you could at least bet that Harden will have a big game.
I wish the Rockets’ record against the spread matched how great they are on offense. With a record of 23-26 ATS and going 4-6 ATS in their last 10 games, trusting the Rockets to cover a 14-point spread is difficult.
Pick and Prediction
The Hornets have been awful, not just overall play but also when it comes to covering a spread. Although the spread is large in this game, I just can’t imagine that playing back-to-back games and on the road is going to bode well for an already struggling offense.
The Rockets are inconsistent, sure, but I’d rather take one of the best scoring offenses we’ve seen in years over an away team currently on a three-game losing streak. I’m happy to take the home team and surrender 14 points. Go with Houston -14.