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Pacers Host Struggling Hornets in Elimination Game

Domantas Sabonis and the Indiana Pacers are small betting favorites over the Charlotte Hornets in the Eastern Conference 9 vs 10 play-in game.

Indiana (34-38 SU, 32-40 ATS) has struggled at Bankers Life Fieldhouse all season, finishing below .500 at home for the first time in 32 years. The Pacers opened as 1.5-point favorites over Charlotte (33-39, 36-35-1), which has lost five straight and 16 of its last 21.

Charlotte Hornets vs Indiana Pacers
  • Date/Time: May 18, 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • TV Coverage: TNT
  • Opening Odds: Pacers -1.5 | O/U 229 (Line History)
  • Hornets vs Pacers Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

After opening as a 1.5-point favorite, Indiana had been bet up to -3 by this morning. The UNDER has also seen some early support, dropping the total to 227 at most sportsbooks. Charlotte won two of three meetings between the teams this year, including a 17-point victory last month as a 5-point road underdog.

Charlotte News & Notes

The Hornets couldn’t have picked a worse time to have their longest losing streak of the season, dropping their final five games to fall out of a top-eight spot in the East, and a lack of offense has been the biggest reason why. Charlotte’s 41.4 percent field-goal percentage during that stretch was the second-worst in the NBA in the last five games, and the Hornets were dead last from behind the arc with a 29.6 percent success rate.

Not that Charlotte’s defense has been much better lately. The Hornets allowed opponents to shoot 49.7 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from three-point range in their last five games, stats that were fifth-worst and third-worst in the NBA, respectively. Those numbers are out of character for a Charlotte defense that allowed just 111.4 points per game on the season, helping the Hornets go UNDER the total in 26 of their last 37 games.

Perhaps the only bright spot for Charlotte these days is the play of power forward Miles Bridges, who has averaged 23.5 points in two games since sitting out six games due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. With Gordon Hayward still sidelined by a foot sprain and LaMelo Ball experiencing lingering effects from the broken wrist he suffered a couple of months ago, the Hornets will likely need another big night from Bridges on Tuesday in order to avoid elimination.

Indiana News & Notes

Although the Pacers remain without starting center Myles Turner, their beleaguered backcourt could get a boost Tuesday with the potential return of several guards. The most notable returnee would be point guard Malcolm Brogdon, who has missed Indiana’s last 10 games with a right hamstring injury but was listed as a game-time decision at the time of writing. Meanwhile, fellow guards Aaron Holiday and Edmond Sumner are listed as questionable after missing Indiana’s last four games.

Domantas Sabonis is also listed as questionable with a left thigh contusion, but Indiana’s star big man played through the injury to score 25 points in 39 minutes Sunday against Toronto. Oshae Brissett led the Pacers in their 125-113 win over the Raptors with a career-high 31 points, his second double-digit scoring outing in his last three games.

Hosting a play-in game might not be as big of an advantage for the Pacers as it would have been in past seasons. Indiana was just 13-23 SU this season at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, snapping the Pacers’ 31-year streak of having a winning record at home. However, Indiana has shown some improvement recently when playing in friendly confines, covering its last five games as the host.

Betting Pick: UNDER 227

With its offense in a rut, Charlotte’s best chance at an upset is to slow the pace as much as possible.

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Shark Bites
  • Charlotte is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games.
  • Indiana is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 home games.
  • The UNDER is 10-0 in Charlotte’s last 10 games at Indiana.