The Charlotte Hornets travel to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in a lopsided matchup on paper. The Cavaliers boast a winning record and home court advantage, while the Hornets are riddled with injuries. Let’s leverage AI models, analyze team trends, and consider injuries to make the most informed prediction for this NBA game.

AI Model Consensus:

  • BetQL: Cleveland Cavaliers -11.5
  • ESPN: Cleveland Cavaliers -12
  • SportsLine: Cleveland Cavaliers -11.5
  • CBS Sports: Cleveland Cavaliers 89.3% win probability (predicted score: Cleveland Cavaliers 116 – Charlotte Hornets 99)
  • FiveThirtyEight: Cleveland Cavaliers 88% win probability

The AI models overwhelmingly favor Cleveland, with an average point spread of -11.7 closely aligning with the current line (-12).

Pythagorean Perspective:

Expected wins/losses based on points scored and allowed provide some context:

  • Charlotte Hornets: 13.9 wins, 56.1 losses
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: 42.3 wins, 29.7 losses

The Cavaliers’ strong record aligns with their Pythagorean projection, while the Hornets fall short, further highlighting the talent disparity.

Injury Report:

  • Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball (ankle), Mark Williams (back), Bryce McGowens (knee), Seth Curry (ankle), and Cody Martin (ankle) are out, with JT Thor (shoulder) questionable. This is a devastating blow to their starting lineup and overall depth.

  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Ty Jerome (ankle) and Donovan Mitchell (nose) are out, while Dean Wade (knee) and Max Strus (knee) are questionable. While these are notable absences, Cleveland’s depth should help manage them better.

Trend Watch:

Recent form is a stark contrast:

  • Charlotte Hornets: The Hornets have lost 4 straight games, struggling offensively without LaMelo Ball and key scorers.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers have won 4 of their last 5 games.

Home Court Advantage:

The Cavaliers boast a strong 22-14 home record this season.

Recent News:

The Cavaliers are focused on securing a strong playoff seed, while the Hornets aim to develop their young players amidst a challenging season.


Considering all factors, our projected score is:

Cleveland Cavaliers 112 – Charlotte Hornets 95


  • The Cavaliers’ superior talent and home court advantage heavily favor them.
  • The Hornets’ extensive injury list significantly weakens their chances of competing.
  • The point spread (-12) seems accurate, potentially widening if Charlotte struggles offensively.
  • The total score (205.5) might be slightly high depending on how much effort Charlotte exerts defensively.

Caveats and Considerations:

  • If some of the questionable players for Cleveland (Wade, Strus) are out, it could slightly impact their depth.
  • The Hornets’ remaining healthy players, like Miles Bridges could have breakout performance.

Beyond the Numbers:

While AI models and analytics offer valuable insights, intangibles like the Hornets’ motivation to play spoiler and the Cavaliers’ potential overlooking of a struggling opponent can influence the outcome. However, the Cavaliers’ overall talent and depth make them heavy favorites.

Pick: Take the Cleveland Cavaliers -12 points. ***LOSE***