(NBA) Orlando vs. Charlotte, 01/14/2022 7:00 PM, Score: 116 - 109
Point Spread: 11.00 | -105.00 Orlando (Away)
Result: Win
8* Orlando (7:05 ET): It’s been a great four-game run for Charlotte, who won by 29 over Detroit, beat Milwaukee twice (both times at home) and then went to Philadelphia to pick up a 109-98 victory on Wednesday. The Hornets are now up to seventh in the East and just one game out of fifth. This despite having a negative scoring differential on the season and the second worst scoring defense in the league. This is a big number for them to lay; they’ve only been favored in 10 games all season!

Meanwhile, Orlando hasn’t been able to get over the hump. They suffered a 10th consecutive loss on Wednesday, falling in Washington 112-106 to the Wizards. I cashed them as underdogs though. Five of the Magic’s last six losses have been by six points or less. They’ve led or been tied going into the 4Q in four of those six games. Wednesday saw them dig an early hole (trailed 33-16 after 1Q) but they fought back valiantly. As they have gotten closer to full strength, the Magic have had four different leading scorers in the last five games.

What will cost Charlotte the cover in this game is their defense. I know that they somehow held Milwaukee and Philadelphia below 100 points the L2 games. But for the season, the Hornets are allowing 115.5 PPG. Unless they “go off” at the offensive end (something I don’t see happening), it’s going to be incredibly difficult to cover a spread this large with the defensive regression I am projecting. Orlando does have double revenge here from two prior losses to the Hornets this season. Both losses were by single digits. 8* Orlando