Free NBA Picks: Can Kings Snap Their Losing Steak vs. Lakers?

Darin Zank

Sunday, December 21, 2014 3:04 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014 3:04 PM UTC

Sacramento owns a five-game losing streak and is 0-2 both straight up and against the spread since canning Coach Malone. The Kings will try to turn things around when they host the hated Lakers.

Lakers-Kings Betting Odds
The NBA odds line on this game opened at Sacramento -7 or so, and that number was holding steady in the early betting. But the total was on the rise, starting off at 208, then quickly reaching 211.

Those who would rather eschew the pointspread on this contest could get the Kings at -305, the Lakers at +275 on the moneyline at 5Dimes.


Lakers-Kings: The Match-Up
LA lost three in a row early this month, then won three in a row, including an overtime upset of the Spurs in San Antonio. But the Lakers have now lost two more in a row, after falling Friday night at home to a Durant-less Oklahoma City 104-103. LA, as a six-point underdog, rallied from nine points down in the fourth quarter to take a lead with seven minutes to go, but in the end came up a bucket short of the upset. Still, they covered.

LA shot 48 percent from the floor Friday night, and held the Thunder to just 43 percent shooting, one of the Lakers' better defensive efforts of the season.

The Kings, meanwhile, jumped out the gate this season, winning nine of their first 14 games. Not bad for a team that went 28-54 last season. But a recent slump, coinciding with an injury to C DeMarcus Cousins, is bringing Sacramento back to Earth.

The Kings have lost five games in a row, and 10 of their last 12, after coming up short against Milwaukee Thursday night 108-107. Sacramento shot 57 percent from the field Thursday, but committed 21 turnovers and allowed the Bucks to make 13 of 23 shots from beyond the arc, losing straight up as a seven-point favorite.

But of those last five losses, four have come by a total of 13 points. Also, despite their recent woes, the 11-15 Kings are only two games behind the Pelicans and Suns in the race for the eight spot in the Western Conference. At 8-18 the Lakers are five games off the pace in that same race.


Lakers-Kings, Key Numbers
LA ranks 23rd in the league in FG shooting at a little less than 44 percent, and 27th in FG defense, allowing foes to shoot almost 48 percent. The Lakers also rank third-worst in rebounding at -3 per game, and only 22nd in assists (wonder why?) at 20.5 per game, but fourth-best in turnovers at just under 12 per game.

Sacramento ranks 15th in FG shooting at just under 46 percent, and 11th in FG defense, holding foes to 44 percent. Sacramento also leads the league in rebounding at +7 per game, but owns a 20/16 A/TO ratio, which is basically terrible.


Lakers-Kings Recent History
LA took the first meeting of this season between these teams 12 days ago at Staples Center 98-95, but Cousins missed that game. The Lakers only shot 40 percent from the floor that night, while Sacramento shot 46 percent, but the Kings committed 16 turnovers, to LA's five. However, Sacramento covered as a four-point dog.

Also, that game played UNDER its total of 207 as the teams combined to shoot just 12/40 from long range and 41/62 from the FT line.

Last season the Lakers took three of four games from the Kings, and covered all four meetings, even though Kobe Bryant missed all four of those contests.


Lakers-Kings Betting Trends
LA is 14-12 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, as Lakers games have averaged 211 points.
Sacramento is 13-13 on the totals, as Kings games have averaged 203 points.
LA is 5-8 SU, 7-6 ATS on the road this season.
Sacramento is 6-9 SU, 5-10 ATS at home.


Injury Update
Sacramento's Cousins missed 10 games with an illness, but returned to play 33 minutes Thursday night, tossing in 27 points while grabbing 11 boards. It might be interesting to see how much wind he's got Sunday.


Lakers-Kings Free Pick
Sacramento is 9-7 SU, 10-6 ATS with Cousins this season, 2-8 SU, 3-7 ATS without him. And it's about time the Kings start turning the worm on the Lakers. As for our NBA picks, we like the Kings to win this game and cover this spread.


Free NBA Pick: Sacramento -7 at Pinnacle

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