The Charlotte Hornets don’t have much time to catch their breath before taking on the reigning NBA champs Monday.
Charlotte visits the Milwaukee Bucks for the second of back-to-back games after an overtime loss to Detroit at home Sunday. This matchup in Milwaukee will be the Hornets' third outing in four days while the Bucks have enjoyed a brief break to get their heads right after losing four of their last five contests.
Here are our free NBA betting picks and predictions for Charlotte and Milwaukee on February 28.
Hornets vs Bucks odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
Bookies opened the Bucks as 10-point home chalk, which has climbed to -10.5 at some shops. The total opened at 241.5 points and dropped like a stone to 238.5 before noon ET on Monday.
Hornets vs Bucks predictions
Predictions made on 2/28/2022 at 12:20 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Hornets vs Bucks game info
• Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
• Date: Monday, February 28, 2022
• Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. ET
• TV: NBATV
Hornets vs Bucks betting preview
Hornets: James Bouknight G (Questionable), Jalen McDaniels F (Questionable), Nick Richards C (Questionable), Gordon Hayward F (Out).
Bucks: Pat Connaughton G (Out), George Hill G (Out), Brook Lopez C (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Hornets are 3-8 against the spread in their last 11 games playing on zero days rest. Find more NBA betting trends for Hornets vs. Bucks.
Hornets vs Bucks picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
The Hornets are happy to see a long February come to a close tonight, winning just two games this month and suffering each of their three most recent losses in overtime. Charlotte will be running low on gas after falling in an extra frame to Detroit on Sunday, coming off a physical affair in which the Hornets drew 29 personal fouls from the Pistons.
Waiting inside Fiserv Forum is a hungry Milwaukee squad trying to get right after a string of losses. The Bucks lost to fellow title contenders Phoenix, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn (those last two at home) while also stubbing their toe against Portland before the All-Star break.
Charlotte could be just what Milwaukee needs to bust this funk. The Hornets run one of the faster paces in the NBA — as do the Bucks — but could be dragging their toes with a tight turnaround and the schedule not doing them any favors.
The Hornets are dependent on setting a frenetic pace, beating teams in transition and getting to the basket for easy looks. Even if they weren’t playing the second of back-to-back outings, doing so against Milwaukee is difficult.
Milwaukee is an athletic team that allows only 16.7 points per game to transition offenses (second fewest in the NBA) and protects the paint better than most, limiting opponents to only 43.3 points in the paint on 42.5% shooting per contest.
Helping slow up Charlotte’s tempo is a Milwaukee offense that should have its way with the Hornets’ interior. Charlotte sits 25th in advanced defensive rating on the road and watches host teams fire at better than 47% from the field, which means it will start most possessions by inbounding the ball.
Milwaukee has put up scores of 123, 120, and 128 in its last three games — all at home — while shooting 50.6% in that span. The Bucks won’t be taking this matchup lightly either, losing their last two meetings with Charlotte (a pair of road games) in January.
Prediction: Bucks -10 (-110)
These teams combined for 252 points the last time they met in Milwaukee back on December 1, but the Bucks are playing with much more desperation — especially after losing the following two matchups with Charlotte on the road and being mired in a recent funk.
Defensive lulls have been the biggest culprit for Milwaukee’s downtick. The Bucks were blasted coming out of the halftime break versus Brooklyn on Saturday, allowing 43 points in the third quarter alone. Over its last five games, Milwaukee has watched its defensive rating go from 108.6 (9th) to 120.8 (29th) in that stretch.
Tonight’s game is a good matchup for Milwaukee on defense and a perfect situation to tighten the bolts before the schedule gets nasty. Beyond the Bugs on Monday, the Bucks battle the likes Miami, Chicago, Phoenix, Atlanta, Golden State, and Utah over the next two weeks.
The team’s third quarter issues won’t be compounded as much tonight, with Charlotte likely feeling the crunch of the schedule and getting heavy legs in the second half and Milwaukee is fully aware of its soft play coming out of the break. Head coach Mike Budenholzer laid into his team following the loss to Brooklyn, and this is a good opportunity to find its form on defense.
Prediction: Under 238.5 (-110)
The Bucks will be playing with urgency to open this game and could put a sleepy Hornets squad on its heels in the opening 12 minutes of action tonight.
Milwaukee owns an offensive rating of 114.7 in first quarters this season (7th), which has translated into 29.3 1Q points per game — jumping to 30.5 at home. Defensively, the Bucks own the third-best defensive rating in those opening frames, leading to an average margin of +2.6 in first quarters on the year.
Charlotte enters this game as the worst first-quarter defense in the land, allowing foes to post 30.2 points per 1Q — with a road 1Q points against average at 31.4. Hornets starters logged major minutes on Sunday (34.7 average mins) and Charlotte is dependent on the first five to provide pop (ranked fifth in starters minutes/sixth in starters scoring).
If the Hornets are still tender from last night’s overtime loss to the Pistons, Milwaukee could make quick work of its opponent in the opening quarter.
Pick: Bucks first quarter -3.5 (-110)
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