The Charlotte Hornets visit the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, setting up an NBA betting matchup between two of the league's most entertaining teams this year.
The Hornets enjoyed a gifted win over the Warriors to begin the weekend before the Jazz brought them back down to earth on Sunday. They'll now see a red-hot Phoenix team that has been a tough out for every team on their schedule.
Can Charlotte step up to the task? Find out with our Hornets vs. Suns free NBA picks and predictions for Wednesday, February 24.
Charlotte Hornets at Phoenix Suns betting preview
Hornets: Devonte' Graham PG (Out), Gordon Hayward SF (Questionable), Cody Martin SF (Questionable).
Suns: No injuries to report.
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Suns are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games as a home favorite. Find more NBA betting trends for Hornets vs. Suns.
NBA sharp money and line movement reportBy Patrick Everson
FanDuel pegged the Suns 9.5-point favorites late Tuesday night night and moved to -10.5 this morning, then to -10 shortly thereafter. As of 1:15 p.m. ET, point-spread ticket count is relatively two-way, with Phoenix attracting 55 percent of bets, but the Suns are getting 73 percent of cash on the spread. The total dipped from 226 to 224, then ticked up to 224.5, with 79 percent of early bets/86 percent of early money on the Over.Check out the full line movement for this game
Against the spread (ATS) pick
After a brief acclimation period for their new parts, the Phoenix Suns look as strong as any second-tier Western Conference team, at 20-10 SU and ATS as the fourth seed. The Suns have been in great form recently, winners of three straight and 12 of their last 14 games.
The Hornets, meanwhile, have maintained their status as a beautiful enigma. LaMelo Ball is already must-watch TV as a rookie, dazzling with passes and a steal-or-two from behind every night that must just be maddening for the opposition. Ball's cult status has overshadowed a fantastic season from Terry Rozier, who is averaging a career-high 20.8 points per game this season. However, for as entertaining and feisty as Charlotte may be, they are still more on the side of basketball novelty than a legitimate playoff team.
Phoenix, meanwhile, is playing outstanding basketball right now and has covered in nine of their last 10 games. We like them to do so again here at home.
PREDICTION: Phoenix -9.5 (-110)
Despite boasting a genius-level passer in Ball and a scorching-hot shooter in Rozier, Charlotte's offense has been middle of the pack on the year, sitting 18th in offensive rating and 20th in efficiency while scoring the 18th most points per game. Combined with a middling defense, and the Hornets' O/U record of 15-14-1 on the year should not come as a surprise.
Similarly, Phoenix's great defense – sixth in defensive rating and eighth in defensive efficiency – combined with a scorer in Devin Booker who is capable of exploding on any night has led them to a perfectly balanced 15-15 O/U.
While the possibility is there for the Suns to get dragged into a high-scoring game, it seems more likely Phoenix's collection of defenders, such as Mikal Bridges, Chris Paul and Jae Crowder, handle a young Hornets core. With the Suns' defense winning this one for one of the NBA's hottest teams, we like the Under here.
PREDICTION: Under 225.5 (-110)
Player prop pick
Whether his shot is falling or not, Ball has stuffed the stat sheet as a rookie with a 14.6/6.1/6.1 line while adding 1.6 steals per game. The elite size Ball has for his position, at 6-foot-7, plays a big part in his assists and rebounds. Yes, he is a prolific passer, but some passes are made possible due to his height and ability to see all of the floor—even when guarded closely. Similarly, whether it's crashing in on a long rebound or simply boxing out his defender, Ball's height has an obvious help on the glass.
Unfortunately for the rookie, all those advantages will go out the window against Phoenix and future All-NBA defender Mikal Bridges. A 6-foot-7 forward with a 7-foot wingspan, Bridges is absolutely suffocating at the point of attack and has the length to cut passing angles, almost regardless of where he is on the floor.
With Chris Paul taking an increasingly reserved role on defense at an advanced age, Bridges should draw the matchup with Ball often in this one. That's going to lead to a lot of growing pains over 48 minutes for the rookie.
PREDICTION: LaMelo Ball Under 30.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-111)
Hornets vs Suns betting card
- Phoenix -9.5 (-110)
- Under 225.5 (-110)
- LaMelo Ball Under 30.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-111)
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