Tip-off at New Orleans Arena is set for a little past 8 PM (ET), with only a couple of regional sports channels televising the game. That means most of us will be spared from witnessing what could easily be a prime-time display of bad basketball.
New Orleans went out as 2.5 point favorites, but the NBA betting odds now show the Pelicans in the -1 to -1.5 range. Tuesday's total has been pegged at 203.5.
The two squads are sitting a game-&-a-half apart near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, and in the cellar of their respective divisions as they prepare to meet for the second time this season. The Pelicans won the first matchup in Sacramento just prior to Christmas, breaking open a tie contest after three quarters with a big fourth in a 113-100 decision.
New Orleans was 1 point chalk in that tilt that went past the total for the seventh straight time in this series. The victory remains one of only seven road wins this campaign for the Pelicans who aren't much better at home (9-10 straight up & against the spread).
Kings Continue 6-Game Road Trip
Life on the road also hasn't been a lot of fun for 1st-year head coach Michael Malone and Sacramento (14-25 SU, 17-21-1 ATS). Malone, who previously worked under New Orleans' Monty Williams during Williams' first season guiding the Pelicans, has watched his squad win just five of 17 away games, though the Kings have done a little better against the spreads that sportsbooks had laid out in those games with an 8-8-1 spread mark.
Sacramento is close to finishing a 6-game road trip with this matchup, the journey beginning a week ago in Indiana and concluding tomorrow night in Houston. So far the Kings are 1-3 on the trek, the lone victory coming last Wednesday in Minnesota where they upset the Timberwolves as 9.5 point road 'dogs, 111-108.
The Kings were no match this past Sunday in Oklahoma City where Kevin Durant led a 108-93 beat-down for the Thunder who were giving up 8.5 points. Sacramento did get a career-best 38 from Isaiah Thomas and a double-double from DeMarcus Cousins (16 points, 14 rebounds), but committed 21 turnovers that led to 34 OK City points.
Pelicans Return Home After Snapping Skid
Tuesday will mark the second of a back-to-back for New Orleans (16-24 SU, 17-22-1 ATS), but Williams' crew should be in a better mood after stopping an 8-game losing streak on Monday with a mild 96-92 upset at Memphis. Lined as 7.5 point underdogs, the Pelicans used a big night by Anthony Davis -- 27 points, 10 rebounds, 4 steals, 4 blocks -- to slip by the Grizzlies, 95-92.
Winning is not exactly what NOLA wants to do much of this season thanks to an NBA rule that actually encourages tanking. The Pelicans traded their 1st-round pick this June to Philadelphia in the Jrue Holiday deal last summer, with the proviso that they get to keep that pick should New Orleans finish in the bottom five of the 2013-14 NBA standings.
New Orleans currently owns the 10th-worst record, and Holiday has missed the last six games with a leg injury, with his return date still unknown. The Pelicans are also playing without forward Ryan Anderson who has missed nine games with a stinger.
The Kings have dropped their last three in New Orleans, the most recent road win over the team formerly known as the Hornets coming nearly two years ago. I'm tempted to take Sacramento in the mild upset since the Pelicans haven't won back-to-back games in nearly a month, but will take my chances with a free NBA pick on the 'over' this evening.
My pick: Kings-Pelicans Over 203.5