Hornets continue drive towards first ever Southeast Division crown
Daniel Coyle, American Sports Correspondent | March 11, 2016
Charlotte Hornets will be looking to close the gap on first-place Miami Heat in the NBA’s Southeast Division standings on Friday, when they play host to the Detroit Pistons as 4.5-point favourites with Coral.
North Carolina-based Charlotte have emerged as one of the surprise stories of the NBA season, already surpassing their win total from last term with a current mark of 35-28, just 1.5 games back of Miami going into Friday night’s Pistons vs. Hornets matchup at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Hornets, who opened the season with long 25/1 odds of claiming their first-ever division crown in NBA futures betting at Coral, have caught fire since halting a dismal 4-13 run back in January, winning 17 of 23 straight up, including 11 of their past 13, to silence the naysayers.
The club have won six straight SU on home court, averaging an impressive 113.3 points per game, but also surrendering over 100 points in five of those contests and covering the spread in just four.
However, Charlotte (9/4 to win the Southeast Division) have also been getting more respect from oddsmakers, who have made them chalk in eight of their past 12, and favourites by seven or more points in six of those matchups.
The Pistons arrive in Carolina clinging to a half-game lead over Chicago for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Detroit kicked off a four-game road trip with a 102-96 win in Dallas on Wednesday, their second straight SU and ATS victory and sixth in their past eight outings, but have been unable to gain momentum on the road, posting consecutive away victories just once since Christmas, going 7-12 SU, 7-11-1 ATS.
Hornets romped to a 104-84 win as 2.5-point chalk in Detroit’s most recent visit in early December, improving to 6-2 SU and ATS over their past eight meetings, including a 3-1 SU and ATS in the Pistons’ past four visits.
Miami Heat (-3.5) @ Chicago Bulls
While Charlotte try to close the gap on Miami, Pistons will be looking for a little help from Heat, who visit Bulls on Friday as 3.5-point favourites in American basketball betting at Coral.
It has been a disappointing 2016 for Chicago, as they have fallen out of the playoff picture after dropping 19 of their past 29 games.
But, the Bulls (20/1 outsiders to win the Eastern Conference) have been strong performers on the hardwood at United Center, winning five of their past six SU and ATS. They also put up a valiant effort in Thursday night’s 109-101 loss in San Antonio, covering as 14.5-point underdogs in a game they kept close until late in the 4th quarter.
Heat saw a five-game SU win streak come to an end on Wednesday with a 114-108 loss in Milwaukee, but remain an impressive 14-6 SU over the past 20, and have been a solid road bet, going 8-3 ATS over their past 11 away from South Beach.
Miami have also held the upper hand in recent meetings with Bulls, SU winners in three of their past four, including their two most recent visits to the Windy City.
Celtics, Warriors look to extend home winning streaks
In other NBA betting action at Coral on Friday night, Boston Celtics will try to extend their current home SU win streak to 15 games as they host Houston Rockets as 5.5-point chalk, and Brooklyn Nets travel to Philadelphia for a Futility Bowl matchup with the Sixers as 3.5-point favourites.
Out west, Golden State Warriors gun for their 47th straight SU win at home when they host the surging Portland Trail Blazers as big 12.5-point favourites, while the struggling Oklahoma City Thunder take on the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves, also as 12.5-point favourites.