Hornets vs Lakers Picks and Predictions for March 18

Updated: March 18, 2021

LeBron James is now 36 years old, but he’s continuing to play at an elite pace, averaging 25.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.0 assists for the Lakers this season.

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Rookie of The Year frontrunner LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets face off against MVP favorite LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in NBA action on Thursday night.

The Lakers are atop the odds board to win the 2021 NBA Championship and NBA betting lines have them installed as 8-point home favorites for tonight’s clash.

Here are our best free Hornets vs. Lakers picks and predictions for Thursday, March 18, with tipoff at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Charlotte Hornets at Los Angeles Lakers betting preview


Hornets: None.
Lakers: Anthony Davis PF (Out), Marc Gasol C (Out), Jared Dudley (Out), Alex Caruso G (Questionable), Kostas Antetokounmpo PF (Questionable).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Lakers are 4-0 ATS in their last four games as a home favorite. Find more NBA betting trends for Hornets vs. Lakers.

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The line opened at Lakers -8, with the total at 227.5. Early action favored the Under moving the Over/Under to 225. Check back later for a full report from Patrick!

Check out the full line movement for this game

Against the spread (ATS) pick

Charlotte is fresh off a crushing 129-104 loss against the Denver Nuggets last night, which snapped a four-game winning streak. The Hornets are now one game above .500 and fifth in the Eastern Conference standings. They’ll have their work cut out for themselves tonight as they take on the 27-13 Lakers, who have reeled off three wins in a row and are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games.

LaMelo Ball is leading a Hornets offense that has made huge strides from last season, when they were near the bottom of the league in every offensive metric. This year’s squad ranks a respectable 15th in the league in offensive efficiency—which is actually one spot higher than the Lakers.

That said, Charlotte has struggled on the other end of the floor, ranking 20th in the league in defensive efficiency while the Lakers lead the league in that category. It’s also worth noting that the Hornets have not played well against tough competition lately, going 0-4-1 ATS in their last five games against teams with a winning percentage above .600.

Los Angeles is still missing All-NBA power forward Anthony Davis but Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell have stepped up in his absence lately. Kuzma is averaging 20.5 points per game over the last four contests, while Harrell is putting up 23.8 ppg. 

With the Lakers supporting cast performing much better in recent games and the Hornets playing on the tail-end of a back-to-back, back L.A. on the spread. 

PREDICTION: Lakers -8 (-110)

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Over/Under pick

The Lakers are second in the league in scoring defense, holding opponents to just 106.3 ppg, but there’s reason to like the Over in this contest.

At the ripe age of 36, LeBron James continues to be an elite offensive player racking up 25.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 8.0 assists per game. LeBron and the Lakers tend to play at a faster tempo at Staples Center, ranking fourth in the league in possessions per game at home, which in turn leads to Los Angeles averaging 114.8 ppg.

Charlotte has plenty of scoring options with Ball averaging 15.7 points and 6.2 assists per game, while Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier both put up over 20 ppg. The Hornets rank eighth in the NBA in points per game on the road with 114.5 but they also allow a whopping 117.4 ppg in away contests, fourth-worst in the league.

That combination of effective offense and brutal defense has been highly profitable for Over bettors, with the Hornets going 17-4 O/U in their last 21 road games. With the Lakers hitting the 120-point plateau in three of their last four contests, expect another strong offensive performance and back the Over. 

PREDICTION: Over 225 (-110)

First-quarter pick 

The Lakers are 13-8 SU at Staples Center this season but tend to get off to poor starts. They are 23rd in the league in first-quarter scoring at home with just 27 ppg, while having a first-quarter margin of minus-2.5 ppg.

The Hornets are a young team that should come into this contest fired up after a 25-point loss. Expect them to play well at the start of the game before fading in the second half. Back Charlotte on the first-quarter spread, grabbing 2.5 points. 

PREDICTION: First quarter Charlotte +2.5 (-105)

Hornets vs Lakers betting card

  • Lakers -8 (-110)
  • Over 225 (-110)
  • First Quarter Charlotte +2.5 (-105)

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