One of the four NBA games scheduled to take place tonight will feature the Charlotte Hornets heading to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans. We’ll preview the game before going over why I’ll be targeting a first-half spread bet in this one.
The Pelicans' struggles without Zion Williamson have carried into the second half of the season, as they have gone 5-8 in their 13 games back and, in that span, have the 18th-ranked NET efficiency at -.8. New Orleans will enter tonight on a two-game win streak; however, those wins came against the Rockets and a Spurs team that was missing almost all of their key players.
Offensively, the Pelicans have been unable to find any consistency, and because of that, they rank 26th in offensive efficiency rating since the All-Star break. All of their shooting numbers in the second half of the season fall right into the middle of the pack, as they are 16th in field goal percentage and 17th in three-point percentage while also ranking 20th in effective field goal percentage.
New Orleans soft spot in their schedule will continue tonight, though, against a Hornets team that is dead last in offensive efficiency since the break and has an overall NET rating of -5.5, which is 25th in the league. This will mark the third straight game that New Orleans has played a team with a worse NET rating than them, but they will still be challenged tonight on the offensive end by a Hornets defensive unit that is third in defensive efficiency since the break.
Charlotte has held their opponents to the lowest average three-point percentage in the second half of the season while also ranking ninth in opponent average field goals made per game. The problem is no matter how well they limit the three-ball and ball movement in general, the Hornets are still 26th in field goal percentage and 28th in three-point percentage in the 13 games they’ve played since the break.
New Orleans is currently listed as a (-8.5) point favorite, but I’ll be targeting their first-half spread (-4.5) for my play. The Pelicans are 40-30-2 ATS in the 1H this season, which gives them the fourth-best ROI in the league on 1H spread bets. Charlotte has been the polar opposite in the first half, as they have the worst 1H ATS record in the league this season at 26-46-1.
So far, in the second half of the season, Charlotte is 29th in 1H NET rating and has the league's worst 1H offensive efficiency rating. The Pelicans have gone into halftime with a lead in four of their last five games and have an overall 1H NET rating of (.5).
Even with the inconsistency on the offensive end, the Pelicans have been a stellar 1H defensive team, as they rank 6th in first-half defensive efficiency. New Orleans also ranks fourth in average field goals allowed per game in the first half, with an average of 20. Charlotte has gotten 47.9% of their points in the first half in the paint, and the Pelicans have the ability to match that since they rank 9th in average points in the paint allowed per game in the 1H.
New Orleans Pelicans 1H (-4.5)