March 1 NBA Action: Phoenix Suns @ Charlotte Hornets
Phoenix Suns -13 (-110) @ Charlotte Hornets Time Warner Cable Arena, CHarlotte, North Carolina
March 1, 2016, 4:00PM PST
Preliminary indications from our simulation + power rankings methodology give the Hornets about a 10 point edge as hosts to the Suns tomorrow evening, suggesting that a play on the road dogs to cover is an attractive proposition.
Hornets fans are being asked to give up 13 Tuesday, a number that eclipses the largest chalk Charlotte has laid this season to date. We think this is asking too much of the Hornets at present. To wit, while we appreciate the potential value of Al Jefferson's reinstatement on Charlotte's active roster, we note that the Hornets' Center has yet to work himself back into form (Jefferson is a combined 7-23 from the floor, for 15 points, over Charlotte's last two games).
Further mitigating the rising expectations for the Hornet's, Charlotte's up-and-coming Forward, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, tore a labrum in his right shoulder, and was lost for the season coincident with the Big Al's return.
Turning to history, Charlotte has been cast as double digit favorites on two prior occasionsthis year: they covered in a blowout win versus the Sixers, but failed to beat the number against the Lakers (both games were played at Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena).
On the other hand, Suns-backers have received 10 points or more in 12 of Phoenix's 59 games this year. And while Phoenix is only 4-8 ATS from this spot, the blown covers came (mostly) against the best teams in the league--the Spurs x 3, Cavaliers, Thunder, Warriors, Clippers, Pacers and Hawks). As the Hornets are far from on par with the first five teams listed, we see scope for a reasonably close contest Tuesday.
Also supporting the notion of a road cover, the Suns have dominated head-to-head action in recent years, covering in six of the last seven meetings with the Hornets, including ATS wins in the last two games. Phoenix is also 3-1 against the number at Charlotte since 2010.
Bottom line: While Charlotte is currently on a roll, winning six of their last seven straight up, and covering in five of those, we think expectations for Tuesday's match-up are on the frothy side considering that injury is still a prominent theme for the Hornet's roster, and that only the elite teams tend to consistently cover the big chalk against the Suns. We like the Hornets to win, but 13 appears a stretch to us. Back Phoenix to cover.
Final Simulated Score: 97 Phoenix, 107 Charlotte