Bet One Unit On the Kings Over Spurs for Your NBA Picks

Jason Lake

Saturday, November 15, 2014 1:49 PM UTC

Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014 1:49 PM UTC

Have the Sacramento Kings finally figured out how to beat the basketball odds? They’ve got a chance to make a big statement this Saturday night against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.

Jason’s record as of Nov. 14: 6-5 ATS

Profit: plus-2.9 units

Maybe the owner isn’t so crazy after all. Vivek Ranadivé has made something of a splash since buying the Sacramento Kings in 2013 for $534 million, which was a record then but seems like a bargain now. Ranadivé has, shall we say, an interesting way of thinking about basketball. But he must be doing something right – his Kings are 5-4 SU and 6-3 ATS, and at this rate, they’ll have their first winning season since 2005-06.

Here’s a good opportunity for the Kings to show us what they’ve got: The San Antonio Spurs (5-3 SU, 3-5 ATS) are going to The Mattresses this Saturday for a very late 10:00 p.m. Eastern tip-off, and they do so after beating the Los Angeles Lakers (+8 at home) 93-80. But there’s trouble with the defending champions. Kawhi Leonard got poked in the eye in the fourth quarter of that game, and as we go to press, nobody knows what his status is for Sacramento. The NBA odds are on hold until the details come in.


Old Gold
This puts us in another one of those spots where we can’t do our usual Kelly betting routine. If we don’t know the basketball odds, we’re not going to bother trying to figure out what our profit margin might be. But we’re going to recommend a minimum one-unit bet on the Kings anyway. If the NBA lines come out and you think Sacramento is getting way too many points, feel free to pump up that bet size.

We’re not completely sold on the Kings. They’ve lost their last three games at 1-2 ATS, while San Antonio won the first three games of this West Coast trip at 3-0 ATS. For that matter, the Spurs usually do a very good job of managing everyone’s minutes; they’re 6-2 ATS in their last eight attempts at playing the second of back-to-back games, and 13-8 ATS since the start of the 2013-14 campaign.

Then again, San Antonio is obviously not playing at an elite level right now – victory over the Lakers notwithstanding. The offense ranked No. 23 in efficiency at 99.2 points per 100 possessions going into Friday’s action, one spot behind the New York Knicks. The Spurs defense was No. 8 overall (100.5 points allowed/100), which is pretty good, but not as good as last year’s champions at No. 4 (100.1). Maybe all those extra playoffs games have finally caught up to our aging heroes.


Boogie Down Productions
Age isn’t an issue in Sacramento – unless you count inexperience, and even then, DeMarcus Cousins (plus-3.3 BPM) is in his fifth season in the league now. His game continues to improve; Cousins leads the NBA in rebounding rate at 21.6 percent, and his 110 Offensive Rating will be a career-high if he can keep it up. But Cousins had better watch those personal fouls. He’s up to 5.8 per 36 minutes, which would also be a career high.

Rudy Gay (plus-4.3 BPM) continues to excel in Sacto Purple, at least on offense, and new point guard Darren Collison (plus-3.3 BPM) has done much the same since coming over from the L.A. Clippers via free agency. Ranadivé’s prize first-round draft pick, Nik Stauskas? Not so much (minus-3.0 BPM). But the Kings are still playing well enough to score a plus-2.61 SRS, not far behind the Spurs at plus-4.64. As long as the NBA odds don’t come in with San Antonio as anything more than a very small underdog (which we doubt), the Kings should have enough value to make them worth a small bet for your NBA picks, Leonard or no Leonard.


The Five Stars
Depth/Travel/Rest: SAC
Defense: SA
Coaching: SA
Market Bias: SAC
Betting Line Value: ???

Verdict: Minimum bet on SAC

Free NBA Pick: Bet one unit on the Kings

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