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  • Writer's picture@WizeOwlSports

Dec 11 NBA Action: Charlotte Hornets @ Memphis Grizzlies

Charlotte Hornets +3.5 (-105) @ Memphis Grizzlies

FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN

December 11, 2015, 7:00PM CST

Our sim work is mixed, with two routines in our lineup calling for the home squad to prevail and two expecting an upset by the traveling team. There is no dissent about the result against the number though: all factors anticipate a Charlotte cover. On average, the computer prediction component of our system forecasts the Hornets +2.6 points.

Similarly, the individual factors that comprise our power rankings composite are split on the straight up outcome, but are synchronized on the result versus the betting line. In aggregate, this branch of our work expects an even narrower victory for Memphis, giving the Grizzlies an anemic 0.7 point expected margin of victory. As such we are taking the points and backing the Hornets at FedEx Forum tonight.

A look at year-to-date stats for these teams justifies our position. For instance, Charlotte scores the ninth most points in the league, while Memphis' offensive output ranks them 28th. The Hornets average almost two possession per game more than the Grizz, however Charlotte still plays a slower than average pace (the Hornets rank 18th in possessions, versus 25th for the Grind House crew). Thus, we do not think tempo entirely explains the scoring disparity.

We submit that Charlotte's offense is simply better than Memphis'. To support this position, consider that Charlotte sports the 10th best Effective Shooting Percentage, while Memphis sorts dead last by this measure. Other efficiency measures, such as True Shooting Percentage and Offensive Efficiency, paint a similar picture, with Charlotte making the top ten and Memphis in the bottom ten.

On the other side of the ball, the Grizzlies boasted one of the more stout defenses in the NBA over each of the last five completed seasons, however Memphis ranks 24th by Defensive Efficiency through the first quarter of the current basketball year. Conversely, Charlotte is #7 by this measure, consistent with their top-ten ranking in each of the last two seasons.

Memphis has demonstrated a modest edge over Charlotte in head to head play in recent years, covering in six of the last 11, and in three of the last five at FedEx Forum. We do not, however, expect the slight edge implied by recent betting trends to be adequate to secure the cover for the Grizzlies tonight.

The Hornets have won three in a row straight up and ATS. Impressively, this roll has unfolded without all-star Forward Al Jefferson, whose presence was limited by a strained calf even before a recent suspension for violating the NBA substance abuse policy. On the other hand, Memphis has won only two of their last five games, covering just once during this span.

We anticipate that this momentum will persist through this evening's contest and, against a backdrop of broad statistical advantage for Charlotte and strong signals from our system, we are taking the points and backing the Hornets.

Happy betting!!

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