76ers vs. Hornets NBA Picks and Predictions

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Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/AFP

Philadelphia and Charlotte clash in a very fun matchup that also offers a great opportunity for profit. Top sportsbooks have released their NBA odds for tonight’s game between Philadelphia and Charlotte. After beating Atlanta and Charlotte, the 76ers are building a nice winning streak, which they look to prolong by beating the shorthanded Hornets for a second consecutive time. For reasons that I will explain, you should play the total for this game.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Charlotte Hornets

Wednesday, December 8, 2021- 7:00 PM EST at Spectrum Center 

Short-Handed Charlotte 

A ludicrous number of important players will remain absent for Charlotte tonight as Covid threatens to continue spreading throughout the roster. These players are point guards LaMelo Ball and Ish Smith, power forward Jalen McDaniels, shooting guard Terry Rozier, and center Mason Plumlee.

Plumlee's Absence

In terms of defense, Plumlee's absence is arguably the most significant one. Although he won't stand out on the stat sheet for his blocks, Plumlee is well-sized at 6'11, 254 pounds. He is meaningfully athletic and boasts good footwork for his size. He is a good defender, which is a rarity on this Hornet roster.

His defensive rating is at least five points better than just about all of his teammates. Size and defensive quality are conspicuously absent from Plumlee's backup, PJ Washington is Charlotte's small-ball center. At 6-7, 230 pounds, he is well-suited for the role. In terms of defensive quality, his defensive rating is over 10 points worse than Plumlee's.

Joel Embiid 

Plumlee's absence means over 30 minutes from Washington, which is ideal news for 76er star center Joel Embiid. At 7-0, 280 pounds, Embiid enjoys a monstrous advantage in size and strength over Washington. Given his physical advantages, he has every reason to produce another 40-point game tonight.

As part of that 43-point effort on Monday night in Charlotte, the Hornets of course tried other tactics than just sticking Washington on Embiid. They aggressively tried to double-team and front Embiid and they employed zone defense. But Embiid is quite used to dealing with such tactics and he evidently has no problem overcoming them.

Three-Pointers 

On Monday night, Embiid accrued seven assists, which tied a season-high for him but isn't far out of the ordinary. When defenses devote extra attention to him inside, he is able to locate potential scorers elsewhere. His ability to command a lot of attention will grant more opportunities to 76er shooters who already benefit from facing a porous Hornet perimeter defense.

Observe for your sports betting that Charlotte allows the fifth-highest frequency of wide-open three-point attempts.
Opponents generally haven't capitalized on these ideal opportunities, but obviously, the Hornets should not get credit for opponents' relatively low conversion rate of wide-open three-point attempts. Ranking 10th in three-point percentage and actually shooting threes more efficiently on the road than at home, the 76ers are well-equipped to make the most of the opportunities permitted them by the Hornet defense.

One player worth looking out for is shooting guard Seth Curry, who is converting over 40-percent of his three-point attempts for a sixth straight season. Curry shot a rare 0-for-6 on Monday, creating a strong bounce-back opportunity tonight. I like that he attempted six three-pointers because it shows that he remained confident despite being off.

Hornet Offense 

While the Hornets are short-handed, they seem to be committing all of their effort to the offensive side of the floor. Of course, the reality that they've consistently owned the second-worst defensive rating makes sense of the fact that opponents, in Charlotte's last five games, have all scored at least 127 points.

But the "rally" angle applies to their offensive outputs, which have repeatedly been impressive given the number of absences.
In different contests during this most recent stretch of play, different guys are stepping up in larger roles and stepping up off the bench to contribute more scoring. As a result, Charlotte has scored at least 119 points in five straight games. Keep this trend in mind for your best bets.

One consistent scorer has been Kelly Oubre Jr., who has amassed 88 points in three December games. He helps lead a transition offense that continues to be the NBA's best. The Hornets lead the NBA in transition points per game, which make them match up excellently against a 76er defense that allows the most PPP (points per possession) and the sixth-most points per game against transition offense.

The Verdict

Expect a shootout-type game led by Embiid and Oubre Jr as Charlotte's committed offense relies especially on transition scoring to outpace a well-rounded 76er attack.  For the above reasons, invest in the "over" with your NBA picks.

NBA Pick: Over 215.5 (-105) with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Over 215.5 (-105)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.