Lock Kings & 'Under' As Our Wise NBA Picks Against Tired Spurs

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 7:39 PM GMT

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016 7:39 PM GMT

The San Antonio Spurs make their final trip of the regular season to Sacramento on Wednesday night and they catch a break with the Kings on the second of a back-to-back.

Spurs Still On Warriors' Heels
If Golden State wasn't playing at a historic level, we might be talking about San Antonio as an all-time team. After all, the Spurs are a pretty darn good 47-9 and still haven't lost at home this season. Yet getting the top seed in the Western Conference seems impossible as the Warriors have a 3.5-game lead over the Spurs and Golden State might not even lose three more times during the regular season. San Antonio still has a better points differential than Golden State: plus-12.4 to 11.5. If there's one concern for the Spurs, they are 1-4 this season against the NBA's other top four teams: the Warriors, Cavaliers, Thunder and Raptors.

This is game No. 6 of San Antonio's season-long eight-game Rodeo Road Trip, but at least it was broken up by the All-Star break. The Spurs improved to 4-1 on the trip with a 118-111 win in Phoenix on Sunday. Somewhat predictably, San Antonio didn't play great against a Suns team that is in a total free-fall. It's easy to overlook that kind of opponent in the dog days of the season. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 22 points and his backup, Patty Mills, added 21 points thanks in large part to a career-high six 3-pointers made.

The Spurs played their third straight game without All-Star and reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard. He's dealing with a calf injury, although it didn't stop him from playing in the All-Star Game. It's probably just some maintenance time off. Leonard is averaging 20.2 points and 6.7 rebounds while again playing fabulous defense. If he sits again, and he's questionable, Kyle Anderson would get another start. Sixth man Manu Ginobili remains out following testicular surgery. That makes me squeamish just typing it. He won't be back for at least a few weeks.

San Antonio is 34-22 against the spread on NBA odds this season and 27-27-2 'over/under.'

 

Kings On 3-Game Winning Streak
It's always tough to play the second of a back-to-back after visiting Denver the night before because that thin air can really wear players down. That's the case for Sacramento, however, as on Tuesday it won in the Mile High City 114-110 -- that was the Kings' third straight win (second in a row vs. Denver) and they allowed exactly 110 points in each of them.

Sacramento (24-31) blew a 17-point lead Tuesday but DeMarcus Cousins rescued the Kings with a steal, block and go-ahead free throws in the final minute. The All-Star finished with 39 points and nine rebounds. In two games since the All-Star break, both vs. Denver, Cousins is averaging 38.0 points, 14.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. However, San Antonio's defense is much, much better than Denver's.

The Kings welcomed two of their top reserves back Tuesday after both missed Friday's game due to tooth extractions during the break. Omri Casspi had 14 points and Marco Belinelli, a former Spur, had nine.

Sacramento is 25-30 ATS on NBA picks and 29-25-1 O/U.

 

Season Series
On Nov. 9, the Spurs visited the Kings as 7.5-point favorites at sportsbooks (total of 203) and won 106-88. San Antonio led by just three entering the fourth quarter. Leonard led the Spurs with 24 points, hitting 10-for-13 from the field. Tim Duncan  had 11 points and 14 rebounds. San Antonio shot 52.9 percent from the field. The Kings were led by Cousins, who had 21 points and 12 rebounds. Rudy Gay had just 10 points and was the Kings were outscored by 31 points with him on the court. The Spurs have won four straight overall in the series and two in a row in Sacramento. This will be San Antonio's final game at Sleep Train Arena, with the Kings moving to a  new building next year.

 

Final Analysis
Take the Kings and go 'under.' The Spurs are obviously better, but they play again Thursday night in a tougher game at Utah so Coach Gregg Popovich seems likely to rest a key guy or two here, including possibly Leonard again. The Spurs are 0-4 ATS in their past four road games. The Kings are 6-2 ATS in their past eight after a win. The 'under' is 5-2 in the past seven  meetings. 

 

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NBA Picks: Kings +7 & Under 217
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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