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Pacers vs Hornets Play-In Tournament Odds and Picks

Nick Krueger

by Nick Krueger in NBA Basketball

Updated May 18, 2021 · 9:22 AM PDT

Terry Rozier layup
Terry Rozier and the Charlotte Hornets visit the Pacers in the 9 vs 10 Play-In game. (Photo by JB Autissier/Panoramic/Icon Sportswire)
  • Indiana is a 2.5-point home favorite against Charlotte in the first Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament game on Tuesday (TNT, 6:30 p.m. EST)
  • Charlotte has been poor to close out the regular season and has been without Gordon Hayward since April, while Indiana star Malcolm Brogdon could make his return from a hamstring injury
  • Read below for odds, a full breakdown and pick on the game

Among the teams in the Eastern Conference competing in the NBA Play-In Tournament, the Indiana Pacers have been the hottest side coming in, while the Charlotte Hornets have been in a free-fall over their last five games.

The two meet on Tuesday in Indianapolis, where the Pacers look to snap their two-game losing streak against the Hornets and give themselves the chance to slide into the eighth-seed. Indiana is a 2.5-point favorite, and hope that the funk Charlotte has been in continues for at least one more game.

Hornets forward Gordon Hayward has been out since early April with a foot sprain, and is not expected back on Tuesday. Since he’s been out, Charlotte has won just eight of its last 24 games.

Charlotte Hornets vs Indiana Pacers Odds

Team Spread on FanDuel Moneyline Total
Charlotte Hornets +2.5 (-106) +120 O 229 (-110)
Indiana Pacers -2.5 (-114) -142 U 229 (-110)

Odds taken on May 17th

Hornets Feeling the Sting on Offense

Charlotte has been a bottom-third team all season shooting from the field, but they have been especially bad recently. Over their last three games, the Hornets have shot just 38.9% and they’ve had the eighth-worst percentage as a road team this year.

Terry Rozier, who has been Charlotte’s most reliable offensive threat, has shot below 30% from the floor in two of his last four games since dropping 43 points against the Pelicans on May 9. Rookie standout LaMelo Ball has been equally inconsistent, and has had three games during that stretch in which he shot 33% or worse. Ball scored 22 against New Orleans, but finished with just five points on a 1-for-9 night against Denver in his next outing.

The unpredictability on offense shouldn’t inspire much confidence that Charlotte can keep up with the Pacers, who have the fifth-highest pace of play in the league. Moreover, Indiana has been shooting particularly well from distance, and has scored the fifth-most three-pointers in the NBA over their last three games. That’s especially problematic for the Hornets, who have allowed the most threes in the league as an away side over the course of the season.

Things Trending Up for Indiana

The Pacers have proven capable of putting up some gaudy point totals down the stretch. The question is whether or not they’ll get their top player, Malcolm Brogdon, back for Tuesday’s game — and if so, how effective can he be?

Brogdon has missed the last month of basketball with a hamstring injury, and for the last week and a half, reports have varied when speculating on his potential return. Whether or not it’s truth or gamesmanship, Indiana head coach Nate Bjorkgren teased that he could be back in the rotation on Tuesday. Whether or not that comes to fruition, Bjorkgren has had a sound replacement for his star with Caris LeVert.

(As of 12:20 EST on Tuesday, LeVert was ruled out due to health and safety protocols)

Adding to Charlotte’s concerns defending the three-ball is Indiana forward Doug McDermott, who has shot 42% from distance over his last four games. McDermott made four-of-eight shots from three his last time out in a win against Toronto to put a bow on the regular season.

Charlotte has had success keeping opponents scoring in the paint to a minimum, but Indiana has been one of the league’s best in that area. Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis skipped Indiana’s game against the Lakers to rest a sore knee, but returned with a 25-point game against the Raptors.

Recency Bias for the Win

The numbers show that Charlotte has been a better team in certain areas over the course of the season than Indiana, but the Pacers have been the better side overall as of late.

Indiana has covered in its last five games, has been draining threes, scoring in the paint and on fast breaks at a significantly higher clip than its season-long averages.

Meanwhile, Charlotte has been heading the opposite direction with many of the trends that made them one of the East’s trickier teams to start the year. If the Hornets were playing better to close out the season, this would be a much tougher matchup to choose from, but the Pacers are the team with the juice right now and should have it for at least one more game.

  • The Pick: Indiana -2.5 (-114)
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