Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Tuesday.
The visitors have been pleasant surprises this early season and look for that success to continue when those Sacramento Kings (8-5, 4-3 away) pay a visit to the New Orleans Pelicans (7-5, 4-1 home) at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA at 8:05 ET in a game available on CSN-California.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Sacramento as a moderate road underdog for this contest with the current line at +4½ with odds of -102.
Matchup of Young Superstars in the Making
Both of there teams boast superstars in the making, and both may already be there if these clubs played in higher profile markets. The Pelicans are led by Anthony Davis, who was picked by some as a darkhorse candidate to be the MVP of the NBA this season. And it is becoming harder and harder to argue that bold prediction as Davis comes off of a career high 43-point effort vs. the Utah Jazz Saturday!
Davis is second in the NBA in scoring with his 26.3 points per game, and he also leads the Pelicans in rebounds (11.4 per game), shooting percentage (57.8), steals (2.2) and blocks (3.5)! Furthermore he is fourth in the league in double-doubles with his eight.
One of the three players ahead of Davis in double-doubles is Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, who is second in the NBA with 10 of them while averaging 23.2 points and 12.3 rebounds overall. He has helped lead the Kings to being the winning NBA picks in three of their last four contests, most recently pouring in 31 points and grabbing 18 rebounds in a monstrous effort during a 113-101 win over the Timberwolves in Minnesota on Saturday.
Youngsters Gelling Together
It was obvious that the Kings had good young talent last season, but it did not translate into a good record as Sacramento finished 28-54, just one game ahead of the last place Los Angeles Lakers in the Pacific Division. It has been a different story this year though, as the Kings are 8-5 and could easily be 11-2 as they blew leads of at least 20 points in three of the losses.
They have done a better job of holding leads over the last four games though while beating the likes of the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls.
The Kings are eighth in the NBA in points scored with 103.4 per game, but they are also underrated defensively as casual fans dismiss that unit because of the 100.8 points per contest allowed, which ranks 21st in the league. However, the reality is that Sacramento is also eighth in the league in field goal percentage allowed at only 43.6 percent, so many of the points the Kings are allowing are a function of the fast pace that they prefer to play.
Gordon Will Be Missed
The Pelicans return home from a 2-2 road trip and they may have to lean on Davis even more now after losing starting shooting guard Eric Gordon to a torn labrum in his left shoulder during the win in Utah Saturday. Gordon underwent surgery and there is no timetable for his return.
Coach Monty Williams indicated that former Duke star Austin Rivers will replace Gordon in the starting lineup. It has been tough sledding for Rivers at the NBA level as he averaged a disappointing 6.2 points as a rookie and 7.7 points in his second season last year. He is only at 7.4 points this young season, and besides the scoring drop-off the Pelicans will also be missing Gordon’s veteran leadership.
Also, New Orleans is 16th in the NBA in points against at exactly 100.0 per game, but unlike Sacrament the Pelicans cannot use pace as an excuse as they rank a legitimately bad 19th in field goal percentage allowed at 45.6 percent and 20th in defensive efficiency.
Finally, the Sacramento record was dragged down last season by going a dismal 11-30 on the road. Well, the maturation of the team this year has also resulted in improved play on the road thus far as the Kings are over .500 at 4-3 while travelling.
These teams are close in overall talent when both are at full strength, but the injury to Gordon may sway things the Kings’ way and make the points worth taking when Sacramento visits New Orleans on Tuesday.
NBA Pick: Kings +4½ (-102)