The Sacramento Kings don’t always beat the NBA odds, but when they do, it seems to be in games where we fade them. Maybe the Philadelphia 76ers can put an end to our misery?
Jason’s record as of Mar. 23: 59-52-4 ATS, 5-10 Totals, plus-2.15 units ML
Slowly but surely, we’re pulling ourselves over that magical 52.4 percent mark. That’s what you need to make a profit with your basketball picks, factoring in the standard –110 juice on spreads and totals. It’s almost the end of the regular season; we (meaning you smart folk and everyone here at the home office) know all these teams pretty well by now and what they’re capable of. By the time the playoffs roll around and the larger betting public comes in, we should be ready to take advantage.
If only the Sacramento Kings would oblige us by not saving their upset victories for the times when we’re fading them. The Kings did a number on our NBA picks last Sunday, beating the Washington Wizards 109-86 as 4-point home dogs. DeMarcus Cousins ended up playing, but the difference-maker was Ben McLemore, who had one of his occasional good games. He does that sometimes. Will he do it again Tuesday night (10:00 p.m. ET) when the Philadelphia 76ers come to town? He might have to if Sacto’s going to cover that 8.5-point spread.
Every once in a while when we are planning our NBA picks, we should take a step back from the computer and the stat sheets and remember that these are some of the most talented athletes in the world. Even the lowliest 10-day contract player can kick just about everyone else’s ass at basketball. McLemore (9.8 PER, minus-1.1 BPM) may have the stats of someone who is below NBA-average at his position, but that doesn’t mean he can’t play ball. When the stars align, you get a game like Sunday’s against Washington: 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and four steals on top of that.
Of course, these games are rare enough that you wouldn’t want to bet on the Kings (24-45 SU, 27-40-2 ATS) in just about any circumstance. They’ve got the least profitable record in the Western Conference when it comes to the NBA odds. But even a blind dog finds a bone now and then. If McLemore and the Kings were reliably and consistently below average, we could fade Sacramento every day and start planning our retirement funds. Instead, we have to take our lumps now and then. That’s why bankroll management is so important.
What-What the System
Naturally, we’re going to keep fading the Kings, and we’re even more interested now that they’re facing the 76ers (17-53 SU, 35-33-2 ATS). Here’s a team that’s been mostly good to us of late, including Friday’s 97-81 win over the New York Knicks (+5.5 away). The Sixers are 4-6 SU and 6-4 ATS over their past 10 games; they even got hosed out of a payday when they were extended to overtime in an eventual 104-95 loss to the Chicago Bulls (–6.5 away). Stupid overtimes.
You could even argue, perhaps, that Philadelphia is a better team than Sacramento at this point. If you look at the Simple Rating System at Basketball Reference – yes, I know, many of you don’t think too highly of these numbers – the Kings are well ahead at minus-2.94 to Philly’s minus-9.24. That would suggest a point spread of about nine points for Tuesday’s game, which seems close enough. Not a coincidence, by the way.
But these SRS numbers are for the full season up to this point. The Kings aren’t the same team they were when they started the year 9-5 SU and 10-4 ATS. Head coach Mike Malone was sent packing in a front-office putsch, and point guard Darren Collison (17.6 PER, plus-1.8 BPM) is out with a messed-up hip flexor. Meanwhile, the Sixers traded away Michael Carter-Williams (12.8 PER, minus-1.2 BPM) and K.J. McDaniels (10.8 PER, minus-2.4 BPM). That’s addition by subtraction right there. If only they’d kept Alexey Shved.
Free NBA Pick: Take the 76ers at Pinnacle +8