#Betting101: Kings in Deep Trouble this Weekend vs. Raptors

Jason Lake

Thursday, December 7, 2017 3:21 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 3:21 PM UTC

The Sacramento Kings are even worse than their record would suggest. Will their best player be back in time to face the undervalued Toronto Raptors this Sunday?

I love it when a plan comes together. We had the Detroit Pistons in the #Betting101 spotlight last week, pegging them as a fade candidate for Friday’s game against the Washington Wizards. Final score: Detroit 91, Washington 109 (WAS +1). Excellent. The Pistons even went one further and lost 108-103 to the Philadelphia 76ers (–4.5 at home) on Saturday. And they said math would never help you in real life.

So what do we have in store for this weekend’s NBA picks? Let’s switch things up and look at some of the worst teams in the league. At press time, three of these teams have a three-game gap between their Pythagorean records and their actual won-loss records. There should be some betting value in there somewhere.

Lowest of the Low

Here are the three candidates in question:

Miami Heat (11-12 SU, 8-13-2 ATS, 8-15 PYTH)
Phoenix Suns (9-17 SU, 12-13-1 ATS, 6-20 PYTH)
Sacramento Kings (7-16 SU, 9-11-3 ATS, 4-19 PYTH)

Are the Heat really that bad? Yup; they rank No. 27 in the NBA in offensive efficiency at 100.7 points per 100 possessions, just below Phoenix at No. 25 (101.9) and just ahead of Sacramento at No. 29 (98.0). But at least Miami is playing league-average defense at 104.6 points allowed per 100 possessions, or No. 15 overall. The Suns (No. 28 at 109.3) and the Kings (No. 30 at 109.5) can’t stop the rock.

As it turns out, all three of these wayward teams have run into some injury problems. Hassan Whiteside (minus-1.8 BPM) is out for Miami with a bone bruise in his left knee. The best player on the Suns, Devin Booker (plus-0.7 BPM), just left Toronto in a wheelchair Tuesday night, courtesy of a strained left adductor. And the Kings are without their lynchpin, Willie Cauley-Stein (plus-0.4 BPM), who’s out for at least the next two games with a strained lower back.

The Heat’s getting spanked,
Whiteside’s getting yanked.
They need more slams,
I know a guy named Bam.

— Josh Baumgard (@joshbaumgard) November 29, 2017

Whiteside has been a very special player for Miami, but he’s an albatross on offense, and his defense hasn’t been good enough this year to make up for it. Let’s bypass the Heat for now. The Suns and Kings are each 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games, so tread lightly, but Sunday’s game between Sacramento and the visiting Raptors (15-7 SU, 12-10 ATS) looks like a good spot to take advantage of the NBA odds. The Raps have a 17-5 Pythagorean record, fourth in the league, and they’ve got all the earmarks of a solid pick. Tip-off is at 3:30 p.m. Eastern. Mark it down, and may the sphere be with you.

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