Thursday, 7 p.m. ET
Free NBA Pick: Kings ATS
Best Line Offered: Bookmaker
The Sacramento Kings begin a six–game road trip against the Charlotte Hornets, who are just coming off of a six-game road trip of their own, in which they went 2-4. The Hornets did at least finish that trip on a high note with a big win against the San Antonio Spurs in Tony Parker’s return to the city where he won four NBA championships.
The NBA odds board opened with Charlotte favored by three points and has remained pretty consistent at that price point. The Hornets are only 9-9 ATS as home favorites and will look to get revenge on the Kings after playing them Saturday.
In that first meeting, the Kings bench was able to thoroughly outscore the Hornets reserves 58-37, lead by 18 points from Bogdan Bogdanovic and another 13 from No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley. Sacramento has done a great job of turning themselves into legit Western Conference playoff contenders, and they have done it behind the growth of De’Aaron Fox, who is emerging as one of the young point guard stars in this league. Fox is excelling on both ends of the floor as he not only pushes the pace for the Kings so they can outrun teams in transition, but he is also leading the charge for Sacramento defensively.
Fox will have has his hands full with All-Star point guard Kemba Walker, who is quietly having one of his best seasons, averaging 25.2 points per game. The key to beating Charlotte is trying to slow Kemba as much as possible without letting him facilitate and get his teammates going. Sacramento will use its athleticism to force the ball out of Kemba’s hands and make Charlotte’s role players play outside of their comfort zone. The Kings should be ripe for a big upset to start out their road trip.
Here are some key trends:
- Sacramento is 17-15 ATS as underdogs
- Sacramento is 10-2 ATS against Eastern Conference teams
- Charlotte is 4-10 ATS against Western Conference teams
Thursday, 9 p.m. ET
Free NBA Pick: Nuggets ATS
Best Line Offered: 5Dimes
Denver suffered a reality check when they were essentially run out of the gym by defending champion Golden State on Tuesday. There is no better bounce-back game than the Nuggets taking on one of the worst teams, the Chicago Bulls. Denver snapped its 12-game home winning streak in their loss to the Warriors, but now have a chance at starting a new winning streak against the Bulls, who have lost eight games in a row.
The game opened with Denver favored by 12 points, and the line is up to as high as 13 at some sportsbooks. Luckily for the Nuggets, they have one of the best home cover percentages, as they are 14-8 ATS this season on their home floor.
Denver has found an identity as a defensive-minded team this year, ranking in the top 10 in defensive efficiency after being in the bottom 10 last season. The key to the Nuggets being able to stop people is the fact they field one of the more athletic wing lineups in the league with Torrey Craig and Juan Hernangomez patrolling the perimeter with their length. Those two defensive stoppers should make life difficult for the struggling Bulls.
Although Chicago has suffered eight straight losses, they are playing like a scrappy bunch, as they competed for 48 minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, competing very well in the first half until allowing the more talented Lakers group to outplay them in the second half. The Bulls will probably be without Wendell Carter, who suffered a sprained thumb and is listed as day-to-day. Without their talented rookie, the Bulls essentially have no plan to stop Nikola Jokic. For your NBA picks, look for Denver to get back on track with a blowout win against the Bulls.
Key trends to watch:
- Chicago is 10-11 ATS on the road
- Denver is 9-7 ATS against Eastern Conference teams
- Denver is 12-7 ATS as home favorites