Hornets vs. 76ers NBA Odds, Preview, and Pick

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Miles Bridges #0 of the Charlotte Hornets reacts following their victory. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/AFP

Charlotte and Philadelphia meet in an interesting matchup tonight. Here’s betting advice for the game. Top sportsbooks have released their NBA odds for tonight’s game between the Hornets and 76ers.

Charlotte has won three straight games, the first coming against lowly Detroit and the last two coming against defending champion Milwaukee. But the 76ers have been no slouches, either: they enter tonight’s game on a seven-game win streak. For reasons that I will explain, you should avoid investing in either side. Instead, the total is the way to go.

Charlotte Hornets vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Wednesday, January 12, 2022- 7:00 PM EST at Wells Fargo Center 

Joel Embiid 

76er center Joel Embiid has played a great and consistent role in Philadelphia's ongoing seven-game win streak. He's contributed over 30 points in each of the seven games. Embiid loves to use his superb physical advantage inside at 7-0, 280 pounds.

Besides powering his way to the basket, he boasts nice footwork and quick moves inside that allow him to score before a double team arrives. But he's also extremely used to facing double teams. He'll often practically eliminate the double team by spinning in order to initiate a scoring move against a single defender, leaving the other defender out of the picture in the process.

As a collective effort or with individual players, defenses struggle to guard Embiid and are struggling to do so now as much as ever.

Charlotte's Problem Inside 

During Charlotte's ongoing win streak, it has benefitted from facing centers in Milwaukee's Bobby Portis and Detroit's Isaiah Stewart who would be riding the bench on various other teams. Neither player remotely boasts the physical advantages or overall skill set that Embiid possesses.

What Embiid -- in contrast to guys like Portis and Stewart -- with his size will help exploit is Charlotte's lack of strength inside. At the center, the Hornets like to start Mason Plumlee who is about 25 pounds smaller than Embiid.

Plumlee will likely accrue 20 or so minutes. The Hornets also like to go smaller with P.J. Washington at the center.  But Plumlee himself already towers over the 6-7 230-pounder Washington. Charlotte's proclivity to play smaller lineups makes it one of the weakest total rebound teams.
This same deficiency makes it uniquely vulnerable to the dominant and dominating Embiid.

In two games against Charlotte this year, Embiid scored 43 points in the game that went to overtime and 32 in the one that didn't. Expect another huge effort from Embiid tonight as he spearheads a Philadelphia charge towards Charlotte's basket that the 76ers will also sustain with guys like Tobias Harris.

The fact that Charlotte allows the eighth-highest field goal percentage within five feet of the basket proves its vulnerability to the inside presence of guys like Embiid plus the characteristic driving ability of men like Harris.

Trend 

Charlotte's lack of size is something that it can make up for by running. The idea is: if you beat your opponent to the basket, then you don't have to deal with his rim-protector and you don't have to fight it for rebounding.

Philadelphia is just the team for Charlotte to run at will against. As measured by PPP (points per possession) allowed, Philadelphia's transition defense is fourth-worst. Hence, the "over" is 5-0-1 in the six games Philly has played against teams that rank top-five in transition points per game.

Teams that excel in transition are reliably able to score a lot on the 76er defense. For starters, the 76er transition defense is not good at stopping the ball. In other words, when the opponent grabs a rebound or otherwise gains possession of the ball, 76er defenders allow the opposing player to continue dribbling and to continue moving to the basket.

Opposing offensive attacks progress unimpeded in transition against Philadelphia's defense.

Charlotte’s Weapons in Transition

The Hornets are typically led in transition by point guard LaMelo Ball. Interestingly, he did not play in Charlotte's first two games this season against Philadelphia. His presence will more than offset the absence of Kelly Oubre Jr.

Ball is a wonderful distributor, using his court vision in transition (as well as in the half-court) to average 7.6 assists per game, which is the seventh-highest average right now. Know for your best bets that he'll have plenty of other players to locate in his team's transition offense. 

Other guys who have racked up nice numbers in transition include Terry Rozier and notorious dunk-monster Miles Bridges.

Bounce-Back Spot 

Charlotte's most recent offensive output was subpar relative to its usual standards. This season, the Hornets have been one of the most efficient teams behind the arc. Rozier is one individual candidate to bounce back as he's converting close to half of his three-point attempts this month while being a high-volume shooter.

As a whole, Charlotte has typically been good about responding to a lower scoring output, which helps explain why the Hornets rank second in scoring offense.

NBA Pick: Over 226.5 (-110) with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Over 226.5 (-110)
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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.