Hornets vs. Trail Blazers NBA Odds, Preview, and Prediction

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LaMelo Ball #2 of the Charlotte Hornets. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

The Charlotte Hornets (16-14) are taking on the reeling Portland Trail Blazers (11-18) this Friday evening. The Hornets are on their third game of a road trip that saw them beat the Spurs 131-115 on Wednesday.

Portland has lost seven in a row and 10 of the last 11 games overall. Let’s break down the NBA odds for this matchup!

Charlotte Hornets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Friday, December 17, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at Moda Center

Despite the losing streak, the Trail Blazers are a 1.5-point home favorite over the Hornets at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. Portland (10-19 ATS) has the worst spread record in the NBA this season while Charlotte (18-12 ATS) is one of five teams covering at least 60% of the time. Can the Hornets continue Portland’s losing streak, or will the Trail Blazers show up at home where they are 10-7 SU?

These Teams Since the Last Meeting

These teams last met on Halloween in Charlotte. The Hornets rode a big second half, outscoring Portland 72-53, on their way to a 125-113 win. LaMelo Ball had a big night with 27 points, but he has missed the last six games after being placed in the health and safety protocol. Ball is expected to return to action this game and the Hornets are 10-5 when he shoots at least 38% from the field this season.

Gordon Hayward is also coming off a season-high 41 points for the Hornets in San Antonio on Wednesday. The Hornets have had great balance in team scoring this season with five players averaging at least 16.6 points per game as they are the second-highest scoring team in the NBA.

The defense has been the big problem for the Hornets as no team allows more points or has a worse Defensive Rating, but it was fine on Halloween when the Trail Blazers missed 37 threes. Damian Lillard had a rough shooting night, going 5-of-20 from the field and only scoring 14 points.

While there was a period where Lillard seemed to be back to his elite ways, he has regressed back to struggling. In his last six games played, Lillard is shooting 33.3% from the field and 29.7% from three. Portland is 0-6 in those games with him and 1-4 in the games he missed.

But in the last loss to Memphis on Wednesday, Portland managed the unthinkable. Lillard was a plus-13 in 38 minutes of action despite not shooting well again (6-of-21). However, the Trail Blazers managed to go minus-23 in the 10 minutes he was off the court in a crushing 113-103 loss. It should be impossible to lose by double digits when your star player is a plus-13 in 38 minutes, but the Trail Blazers pulled it off.

Lillard is also flying solo as CJ McCollum continues to miss time to deal with his collapsed lung. The last five losses have all been without McCollum, though the Trail Blazers scared Phoenix into overtime and made Memphis come back in the fourth quarter for that win.

Portland: Home vs. Road?

Few teams have a home-road split as amusing as the Trail Blazers this season. That could be schedule-based this early in the season as Portland has already twice played in Golden State as well as games in Phoenix, Philadelphia, and Utah. But some of these splits are staggering.

At home, the Trail Blazers are a mediocre 10-7 team that ranks No. 10 in offensive rating and No. 17 in defensive rating. But on the road, the Trail Blazers are 1-11 and rank No. 23 in offensive rating and No. 30 in defensive rating. Portland has allowed over 115 points in 11 games this season and eight of them were on the road. Meanwhile, 12 of the 14 games where Portland scored at least 110 points were at home. Splits happen, but this is nutty stuff this season.

Unfortunately, Lillard is still a sub-40% shooter in home games this season. The Hornets (8-10 road record) are also remarkably consistent regardless of venue. Charlotte is No. 3 in offensive rating and No. 29 in defensive rating in both venues splits (home and road) this season.

Prediction

With the prospects of Ball (albeit rusty) returning and McCollum still out, the Hornets should field a better squad than the Trail Blazers in this one. While the Hornets are a liability on defense, Portland is 29th in FG% (41.9%) over the last seven games while Charlotte is No. 2 (49.9%). I trust Charlotte to put up too many points for Portland to overcome, covering the road spread for your NBA picks this Friday.

NBA Pick: Hornets +1.5 (-110) with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Hornets +1.5 (-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.