New Orleans Pelicans vs. Charlotte Hornets Preview (10/21/22): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

After demolishing the Nets 130-108, the New Orleans Pelicans (1-0) continue their road trip against the Charlotte Hornets (1-0), who just dispatched the Spurs 129-102. Zion Williamson is back and better than ever, while the Hornets will once again be without the injured LaMelo Ball.

Can Charlotte pick up a statement win at home? Their odds can be found below along with predictions, key matchups, starting lineups, and injuries.

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Charlotte Hornets Betting Odds

The Pelicans are rightfully favored over a mediocre Hornets squad. After opening at -5.5, the spread has slightly increased to -6 Pelicans on some sportsbooks. Charlotte’s moneyline is +210, so they must win this matchup 33% of the time to be profitable long-term. With the over under set at a monster 231.5 total points, the line is the largest mark today.

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Charlotte Hornets Prediction

I jumped on Pelicans -5.5 early, and I am thrilled it’s holding at -6. Taking the Pelicans to cover up to -7 is the best bet here.

Charlotte’s suspect interior defense will be shredded by Zion, who is arguably the most dangerous around the basket threat in the NBA. He managed 25 points on a 50 FG% versus Brooklyn, and that felt like a warm up game. Ingram and McCollum can also penetrate the paint off the dribble with ease and attack the rim because Rozier and Hayward are poor defenders.

In addition, the Hornets will struggle on the glass against Zion and Valanciunas, who combined for 9 offensive rebounds last game. PJ Washington in particular is a liability against Zion. Look for the Pelicans to score plenty of second chance points and inflate their offensive production.

With the Hornets bleeding points down low, they also must navigate a barrage of three-pointers. McCollum and Trey Murphy are elite snipers, while Ingram, Herb, and even Valanciunas are accurate enough to heavily damage the Hornets from deep. This shoddy Hornets defense cannot stop the Pelicans in the slightest and will allow 125+ points.

On the other end, Charlotte cannot rely on LaMelo Ball to lead them in scoring and playmaking. Rozier is a capable scorer, but I doubt his ability to orchestrate an offense and significantly boost teammate shot quality. Meanwhile, Kelly Oubre and Gordon Hayward face a challenging pair of defensive wings. Herb Jones is a DPOY candidate who can smother any position from point guard to power forward. And while Ingram isn’t known as an elite defender, he positions himself well and utilizes his incredible length.

The Hornets can get hot from deep, and they did drop 129 points in their season opener. However, they played the lowly Spurs and won’t receive the same shot quality. Overall, the talent gap is far too big to count on the Hornets covering, and their weaknesses unfortunately overlap with New Orleans’ strengths.

Betting Trends

  • Pelicans are 6-0 ATS in the last 6 meetings in Charlotte
  • Under is 5-0 in the last 5 meetings in Charlotte

Key Matchups

Can Herb Jones and Mason Plumlee defend at the level required from their respective teams? Check out their matchups below.

Gordon Hayward vs. Herb Jones

With LaMelo out, Hayward’s off the dribble scoring and secondary playmaking is vital to Charlotte’s offensive success. He’s not the player he once was, but Hayward can still produce 18-22 points and 4-5 assists. New Orleans understands his importance and likely deploys Herb onto him. Can Hayward handle Herb’s intense defensive pressure and 7’0” wingspan? If Herb locks him down, then Charlotte’s offense will be running on fumes.

Mason Plumlee Rim Protection

Plumlee absolutely must turn in an exceptional performance and deter shots around the rim. It’s inevitable that Zion scores, but Plumlee must repulse driving ball handlers and force a pass. New Orleans may have Valanciunas often flash to the three-point line and drag Plumlee away, which sets up others for clean looks around the basket. It’s also vital that Plumlee defends without fouling, as the Hornets cannot afford to lose the free throw battle.

New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineup

PG: CJ McCollum
SG: Herb Jones
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: Zion Williamson
C: Jonas Valanciunas

Charlotte Hornets Starting Lineups

PG: Terry Rozier
SG: Kelly Oubre Jr
SF: Gordon Hayward
PF: PJ Washington
C: Mason Plumlee

Key Injuries

New Orleans Pelicans Injuries: Jaxson Hayes (D), Kira Lewis Jr (O), EJ Liddell (O)

Charlotte Hornets Injuries: LaMelo Ball (O), Cody Martin (D)

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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