The San Antonio Spurs (7-33) travel to Charlotte on Friday to take on the Hornets (8-30) in an interconference battle. The game tips off at 7:00 PM EST with the Hornets slated as a 4.5-point favorites. Find updated starting lineups, injuries, predictions, and odds for Hornets vs. Spurs below, where the best bet is the Hornets to cover the spread..
Hornets vs. Spurs Prediction
The Spurs will be without Victor Wembanyama in this contest as San Antonio gets set to play their first game of a road back-to-back. Dominick Barlow, a 6’ 10” PF/C on a two-way contract from the G-League, will likely get more playing time at the five as a result. The Spurs are 0-5 this season without Victor Wembanyama.
The Charlotte Hornets, meanwhile, come into this game in the midst of their own six game losing streak. They have lost each of their last four games by at least 17 points, including a 135-99 loss to San Antonio on Jan. 12 in a game where Victoria Wembanyama had 26 points and 11 rebounds.
In a matchup between two struggling teams with bottom six offensive efficiency metrics, the absence of Wembanyama — and his ability to protect the rim — may be the X-factor in this game.
Despite their inefficiencies, one thing the Charlotte offense has been able to do this season is create pressure around the basket. LaMelo Ball — the team’s leading scorer at 24.9 PPG — ranks seventh among all active NBA players with 17.1 drives per game. Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, and Miles Bridges all also rank in the top 50 for the same metric.
When these two teams last played in San Antonio, this attack-style offense was nullified to some degree by a Spurs front court that combined for seven blocks — a mark that would lead the NBA in blocks per game if it was sustained over the course of a season.
Without Wembanyama, however, it’s reasonable to assume that this Charlotte offense will be more successful in getting to the basket.
Furthermore, there is reason to believe the San Antonio offense may struggle against the Hornets. Without Wemby this year — who is the team’s leading scorer on the season — the Spurs have had to rely on their guards for offensive production. That will be a tall task in this matchup against a defensive backcourt of LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier.
Hornets vs. Spurs Prediction: Hornets -4.5
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Spurs vs. Hornets Odds
Sportsbooks currently have the Charlotte Hornets slated as a 4.5-point favorite against the Spurs, with the total set at 235.5 points. These odds imply a 120-115 Hornets victory.
Moreover, of all the games scheduled to take place on Friday (1/19/24), only two have a higher projected point-total than this one.
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
Charlotte Hornets Starting Lineup
Spurs vs. Hornets Injuries
The Spurs will be missing some size in this matchup as center’s Victor Wembanyama (rest) and Zach Collins (ankle) are both listed as out for this game. The Hornets, meanwhile, come into this game fully healthy, with no one formally listed on the injury report.
Spurs vs Hornets Key Matchup
Will the Spurs have the rim protection necessary to slow down LaMelo Ball?
Spurts Frontcourt vs. LaMelo Ball
Without Wembanyama on defense, the Spurs will likely need to divert resources from the perimeter to slow down LaMelo Ball on drives to the basket. As a 6’7” guard, Ball may attract significant attention on defense in this matchup — which is a big reason why I have the Hornets covering the spread in my Hornets vs. Spurs prediction.
If the Spurs are able to keep LaMelo from getting easy baskets without having to leave guys open on the perimeter, they stand a good chance of covering the spread. If they are either unable to do so, it will likely be tough for the Spurs to get a win on the road against a desperate Hornets team.
North Carolina Sports Betting Update
NC sports betting is expected to go live sometime ahead of the 2024 NCAA March Madness tournament. While no formal launch date has been set, more news is expected to arise following the state’s internal controls deadline on Jan. 26. In the meantime, residents of the Tar Heel state can derive hope from the fact that Gov. Roy Cooper has promised a launch date by June 14, 2024. When online sports betting does become available in North Carolina, individuals will be able to take advantage of sportsbooks such as BetMGM North Carolina and BetRivers North Carolina, which offer new users $2,000 in first bet insurance($1,500 from BetMGM and $500 from BetRivers).
For updated North Carolina sports betting news, check out the “NC Sports Betting” tab on Lineups.