The 2021-22 regular season is over, and the NBA Play-In Tournament is upon us. The first team eliminated from the NBA playoffs will come from the Eastern Conference No. 9 vs No. 10 game between the Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets.
The Hawks (43-39), who went to the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago, have been one of the NBA’s most disappointing teams this season. Led by Trae Young, who scored the most points of any NBA player this season, Atlanta has a puncher’s chance of getting back to East’s field of 8 for the second straight season.
The Hornets (43-39) have one of the most potent offenses in the NBA, averaging the fourth-most points in the league (115.3). Charlotte is the ninth-youngest team in the NBA by average age (25.3) and hasn’t qualified for the playoffs since 2016.
Let’s dive into my Hawks vs Hornets betting picks for the NBA Play-In Tournament.
Hawks vs Hornets Odds
All NBA Play-In Tournament odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook and current as of Monday, April 11, at 4 p.m. ET.
- Moneyline: Hawks (-190), Hornets (+160)
- Spread: Hawks -4.5 (-110), Hornets +4.5 (-110)
- Over/Under: Over 236.5 (-110) / Under 236.5 (-110)
- Implied Score: Hawks 120.5, Hornets 116
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Hawks vs Hornets Prediction
The Hornets want to play fast. They had the fourth-highest pace in the NBA, which is a big reason why they score so often. Charlotte also averaged 38.2 three-point attempts per game, the sixth-most in the NBA, and has the sixth-best three-point percentage (.365), led by Gordon Hayward who shot a team-best 39.1% from deep.
The Hawks are a mirror image of the Hornets, ranking second in offensive rating and sixth in points per game. Atlanta also ranked second in the NBA in three-point percentage (.374) thanks to standouts Trae Young and Kevin Huerter, who each shot better than 38% from beyond the arc.
The difference in the game will likely be whichever team can get stops, and we trust Atlanta based on its experience and health.
The Hawks are just 10 months removed from their run to the Eastern Conference Finals and are expected to have their full rotation available, which unfortunately won’t be the case for Charlotte.
Hayward, the Hornets’ fourth-leading scorer at 15.9 points per game, won’t play in the Play-In Tournament due to a foot injury.
Plus, picking the home team is never a bad choice in a win-or-go-home game, especially in the NBA.
Hawks vs Hornets Score Pick
Hawks 125, Hornets 118
The loss of Hayward will likely be huge for Charlotte, despite the fact it played 32 of its final 36 games without him and went 17-15 in those games. Young ranked fourth in the league in points per game, and the Hornets should have trouble holding him down in Atlanta without arguably their top defender.
Atlanta went 27-14 at home during the regular season, and Young averaged 30.2 points per game at State Farm Arena. The Hawks earned home court thanks to their superior record against Southeast Division opponents, and that could be the main difference in the game.
Hawks vs Hornets Best Bets
Hawks Cover -4.5 Spread (-110)
WAGER: 1 Unit
Hayward’s absence will likely have the biggest effect on the game, since he’s both a great scorer and one of Charlotte’s best defenders — he had the third-best defensive rating on the team (111.0).
He missed the most recent game between the two — a 116-106 Hornets win on March 16 — but Young shot just 3-for-12 in that game, which no one should bet on happening again.
Hawks vs Hornets: OVER 236.5 Total Points (-110)
WAGER: 2 Units
These are two of the highest-scoring teams in the NBA, and last year’s Play-In Tournament was incredibly high scoring — there was a six-game average of 227.3 points per game, including Charlotte’s 144-117 loss to the Indiana Pacers in the East 9 vs 10 game.
The Hawks have scored at least 100 points in each of their last 21 games (119 points per game during that stretch), and Charlotte’s streak sits at 28 consecutive games. There will definitely be points scored.
Hawks vs Hornets Parlay
Best Same-Game Parlay (+191)
WAGER: 1 Unit
- OVER 236.5 Total Points
- Hawks Moneyline
The Over in this game feels like the safest bet, but if you’re skittish, feel free to tease it down a couple of points to about 234.5 or so, which would mitigate the threat of a bad beat.
Additionally, taking the Hawks to win outright instead of covering a teased-down spread of 2.5 or so, would prevent a Charlotte backdoor cover, and at (+191) odds, this is still a pretty good value given Atlanta’s moneyline odds sit at (-190).