The Sacramento Kings have cooled off of late, but they're still near the .500 mark and have exceeded expectations through the first 19 games of the NBA season. They’re favored on the NBA betting lines as they host the Orlando Magic on Saturday night.
The Orlando Magic Can Win Because…
Their confidence should be high after winning in Salt Lake City against Utah on Friday night. The Magic entered that game having allowed an average of 100 points per game this season, but they clamped down on the Jazz, holding the home team to only 93 points. The Magic are not likely to be a playoff team this season, even in the weak Eastern Conference, but this team is poised to eclipse the win total of last season. The Magic won 23 games last season. Through 22 games (just over one-fourth of the season), they've won eight games. That's going to get them close to 30 wins if they maintain it over the next several months. The Magic are developing a lot of young talent at a lot of positions, and if they stay on track, they should be optimistic about what they're doing. The Kings are also coming off a late-night game on Friday against the Indiana Pacers. Sacramento entered Friday night at 27th in the NBA in assists, so the Magic, having played such good defense against Utah, should feel that they can contain Sacramento's offense in halfcourt situations.
The Sacramento Kings Can Win Because…
They're playing a very weak opponent which is on the second end of a back-to-back set of games acording to NBA odds. Orlando entered Friday night 24th in the NBA in scoring offense and 26th in the league in assists. The Magic struggle to run good halfcourt offense, and while their defense has shown some promise of late, it still lags behind most of the NBA -- it was 19th entering Friday's games. The Kings entered Friday night 13th in the league in scoring, which is decent. However, they really make their mark on the glass -- they were fourth in the league in rebounding when they took the court against the Indiana Pacers on Friday. DeMarcus Cousins entered Friday averaging 12.6 rebounds per game in what has been his best NBA season in his young career. With Cousins patrolling the paint, Sacramento takes on a much tougher identity.
What should also be said is that while Sacramento is 4-6 in its last 10 games (pending Friday night's result), Orlando is only 3-7. The Magic, even after their win over the Jazz, have a negative point differential of 5.8. The Kings entered Friday with a roughly even point differential. That last statistic offers a window into the consistency of the Kings relative to the struggles of the Magic. An added fact about the Kings is that they've played only two games against the East entering Friday. Sacramento should welcome more games against the weaker conference.
The Magic should be encouraged by their win over Utah on Friday, but Sacramento has been a consistently better team than Orlando all season long. Take the Kings with your NBA picks here.
Free NBA Pick: Sacramento