Indiana Pacers vs. Charlotte Hornets Betting Predictions

Hornets vs Pacers Play-In
Indiana vs. Charlotte, NBA Playoffs Betting Predictions, May 18

The Indiana Pacers host the Charlotte Hornets in an elimination game Tuesday to tip off the NBA’s play-in series. The winner will advance to play Thursday for a chance to be the eighth seed and play Philadelphia in the opening round while the loser’s season will end. Given the fact the Hornets lost their last five games, I expect the Pacers will put them out of their misery.

Pacers vs. Hornets Betting Odds

The play-in tournament gives new life to the Indiana Pacers, who have a chance to win their way into the NBA playoffs by winning two games in the next three days. The first challenge for the ninth-seeded Pacers is a home game with the Charlotte Hornets, who lost five straight games to close the season. It will be a game for the walking wounded as both teams are dealing with injuries to key players, though Charlotte will definitely be missing one piece and Indiana just has plenty of players listed as questionable.

Charlotte has really struggled this season since Gordon Hayward sprained his foot, losing 16 of the team’s final 24 games to finish in the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference. Hayward will not play Tuesday, so the Hornets’ season rests on Terry Rozier and LaMelo Ball, who have performed admirably but just don’t have enough talent around them. Rozier is averaging 20.4 points per game to lead the team and Ball ranks third behind him and Hayward at 15.7 points per game. The challenge is Charlotte’s offense has dropped off from 111.2 points per game in the first 48 games of the season down to 105.9 in the 24 games since Hayward’s injury. The Hornets also rank dead last by allowing 55.2-percent shooting on 2-point shots. That is a tough combination to overcome in the playoffs, especially without one of your star players.

The Pacers’ lineup is a giant question mark with their two best players – Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert – questionable due to injuries. Brogdon has missed the last 10 games with a hamstring injury, but at least was active in Sunday’s season finale. LeVert returned from a knee injury to play Saturday then left Sunday’s game with migraines. The two are Indiana’s top-two scorers and help bring out the best in Domantas Sabonis, who had some struggles in the final few games of the season. That trio all averaged at least 20 points this season for the Pacers, and the depth after them is bleak with Doug McDermott’s 13.6 points per game the only other healthy player averaging at least 11 points per game. The question is whether those guys are enough to overcome the Hornets’ slump to close the season.

We’re going to keep it simple for these NBA betting predictions because there isn’t much at the legal sports betting sites in New Jersey that is intriguing. The Pacers are moderate three-point favorites, according to the basketball betting sites in New Jersey, which I think is way too generous to Charlotte in this situation. The Hornets really struggled down the stretch and Indiana wasn’t the best team, but did at least win three of their last five. I think Indiana has an excellent chance to build some momentum for that second play-in game by playing a struggling team at home. I’m simply going to double the spread – and add a bit as well – and bet on the Pacers laying 7.5 points at +185 odds at the NBA betting sites in New Jersey.

Indiana Charlotte
888Sport
-155 +130
BetMGM
-150 +125
FanDuel
-146 +124

My Prediction

Indiana -3 points

I wouldn’t say either of these two teams played inspiring basketball down the stretch, but Indiana did at least play better. The Hornets are just 3-9 in their last 12 games while the Pacers have won three of their last five contests to save a 5-7 close to the year. Despite the fact Charlotte won two of three from Indiana this season, I think the Pacers have enough of a spark to beat the Hornets at home.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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