Monday, 10 p.m. ET
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The Trail Blazers are coming off of a very tightly contested contest in the altitude Sunday at Denver, where they were pushed to their physical limit in a 116-113 loss to the Nuggets. It will be very ambitious for Portland to come out and play their best when they have to turn around and play the second night of a back-to-back against a Sacramento Kings team that has been as competitive this season as they have in more than a decade.
Sacramento enters Monday night’s game as one of the best teams in the NBA when it comes to covering the spread at home (15-7 ATS). This game opened with the Kings being favored by two points, but is now at 2.5 in most sportsbooks. There is still value to be found if you can bet the Kings at -2 and save on half a point against a Portland team that has struggled covering on the road. Portland ranks in the bottom 10 in terms of covering the spread on the road (8-11 ATS), which matches its 8-11 record straight-up on the road.
The Kings are heating up at home, having won three straight games at the Golden One Center, including a 104-97 victory Saturday against the Charlotte Hornets. While Sacramento may not have the one superstar to match up with Portland’s Damian Lillard, they boast a versatile young group of players who take turns stepping up and contributing to the newfound winning culture in Sacramento.
Lead by De’Aaron Fox, who is turning heads in his second year, the Kings are staying competitive in games by running the floor and maintaining the second-fastest pace in the NBA with 106.3 possessions per game. Also stepping up recently for the Kings has been Harry Giles, whose career has been marred by injuries, but is now finally able to contribute on the NBA level. After not playing in nine games in December because of the coach’s decision, Giles has emerged as a quality rotational player in January, averaging 16.9 minutes per game and even scoring a career-high 14 points in a win over the Pistons on Tuesday.
The key to Sacramento beating a tired Portland team, which is playing on no days rest, will be to force them to keep up with the speed of the young legs of the Kings. Fatigue will be a factor in this game, which is why it will behoove bettors to bet the “under” in a contest which the total is set at a staggering 227 points. Portland is averaging 111 points per game this season, but putting up only 108 points on the road. Lillard has seen his average drop from 25.1 ppg for the season to just 22 points on 42-percent shooting from the field in his last 10 games. Portland goes as Lillard goes and if he’s in a bit of a shooting slump, it leaves the Blazers susceptible to being outplayed by inferior teams.
Here are a few trends working in Sacramento’s favor:
- Sacramento has a 15-7-1 home ATS record
- Sacramento is 12-9 ATS after a win
- Sacramento is 8-2 ATS as a favorite
- Portland is 5-9 ATS as an away underdog