The banged-up Charlotte Hornets got Rookie of the Year candidate LaMelo Ball and Malik Monk back in the lineup in time for a playoff run. Bettors can wager on whether the team will make the playoffs this year via a yes/no prop bet over at DraftKings.

Charlotte Hornets Rookie LaMelo Ball Prop Bet Will Buzz City Make Playoffs
Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball directs floor traffic for a Buzz City squad that’s fighting for a postseason berth via the play-in tournament. (Image: Cary Edmondson/USA Today Sports)

The prop bet entails the Hornets securing a spot via the play-in tournament. The Hornets (32-33) currently occupy the #8 seed and trail the #7 seed Boston Celtics (34-31) by two games. They trail the #6 seed Miami Heat (35-31) by two-and-a-half games.

If the Hornets make the playoffs, that “yes” prop bet pays out +155 odds. Missing the playoffs — or a “no” prop bet — pays out -200.

Will the Charlotte Hornets Make the Playoffs?
Yes +155 No -200

In the play-in tournament, the teams from the #7 or #8 spots must win just one game to secure a berth in the playoffs. If the Hornets lose the Seven-Eight Game in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament, they’ll still have another chance to qualify by defeating the winner of the Nine-Ten Game. The Indiana Pacers (30-34) occupy the #9 spot, while the Washington Wizards (30-35) sit in the #10 spot.

The Hornets haven’t won a playoff series in nearly 20 years. They advanced to the postseason three times since 2010, but were knocked out in the first round in all three instances. The Hornets last appeared in the postseason in 2016 as a #6 seed.

LaMelo Returns

The Hornets were fighting for the #4 seed in the East before they lost Ball for six weeks with a fractured wrist. The Hornets went 10-11 in the 21 games that Ball missed and, during that stretch, they slipped to the back of the chase pack in the East.

With Ball back in the lineup, the Hornets are 2-1 and looked a tad rusty in his first two games back. In a 102-99 victory over the Detroit Pistons, Ball looked like his old self. He tallied 23 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. He also knocked down 3-for-5 3-pointers in the clutch victory.

Ball has the inside track to win Rookie of the Year. He’s the favorite over Anthony Edwards, the former #1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Ball averages 15.9 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game this season.

Buzz City ER: Hayward, Bridges

The Hornets were thrilled to see Ball and Monk (ankle) back on the court. However, they’re still missing leading scorer Gordon Hayward. The Hornets lost Hayward for at least a month when he sprained his foot in early April. The team said they would reevaluate him in four weeks, but they haven’t updated his status.

The Hornets will need a healthy Hayward if they expect to win the play-in tournament and make the playoffs as either the #7 or the #8 seed.

The Hornets took another bad beat in the injury department with Miles Bridges. The third-year small forward from Michigan State will miss up to two weeks due to the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Bridges averages 12.4 points and 6.1 rebounds this season, and saw more floor time after Hayward went down with the foot injury. Bridges was on a tear and playing his best hoops of the season before he got flagged for COVID protocols. He averaged 21.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in his last six games.

Big man PJ Washington missed their last game due to personal reasons. He’s expected to rejoin the team this week.

On Deck: Bulls, Magic, Pelicans

The Hornets have seven games remaining on their schedule, including two back-to-back games. The Hornets host a five-game homestand before hitting the road for two games to end the season.

On Thursday, the Hornets host the Chicago Bulls (26-39). On Friday, the Orlando Magic (21-44) come to town. Over the weekend, Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans (30-36) visit Buzz City. The Pelicans are in the #11 hole in the Western Conference playoff hunt and trail the slumping Spurs by two games.

Next week, the Hornets have two tough games against the Denver Nuggets (43-22) and LA Clippers (44-22). On the final weekend of the season, the Hornets hit the road for back-to-back games against the New York Knicks (37-28) and Russell Westbrook’s Washington Wizards (30-35).

The Hornets could try to catch the #7 team (aka Celtics or Hawks), but they definitely don’t want to squander the #8 spot and relinquish that to the Pacers or Wizards.

Check out more coverage and prop bets involving the upcoming 2021 NBA Playoffs.

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