Will the Nuggets Find Some Gold Against the Kings?

Jason Lake

Monday, November 20, 2017 12:23 PM UTC

Monday, Nov. 20, 2017 12:23 PM UTC

The Denver Nuggets had a really bad Sunday night. Now they have to travel to Sacramento to play the Kings on Monday. Do the awful Kings really belong in our NBA picks?

Free NBA Pick: Kings +7 (–105)
Best Line Offered at Heritage

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Every basketball team has one of “those days” from time to time. Sunday was that day for the Denver Nuggets. They got hammered 127-109 by the Los Angeles Lakers (+5 at home), but it was worse than that: Paul Millsap left the game with a sprained left wrist. Millsap didn’t play at all in the second half after getting taped up.

If that weren’t bad enough, the Nuggets (9-6 SU, 6-9 ATS) have to be in Sacramento Monday night to face the Kings (4-12 SU, 5-9-2 ATS) at 10 p.m. Eastern. Denver opened as a 7-point road chalk on the NBA odds board and has yet to budge as we go to press, despite the Millsap injury. You know, this just might be the right time to bet on the Kings, if there is such a thing.

America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital
If the math is right, Sacramento looks like a viable NBA pick whether Millsap plays or not. Nate Silver and the troops at FiveThirtyEight project Denver as a 4-point favorite. ESPN’s Basketball Power Index sees it more like Nuggets –5.5. If Millsap (plus-1.4 BPM) can’t play, Will Barton (plus-1.4 BPM) will soak up some of his minutes, but so, presumably, will Kenneth Faried (minus-1.5 BPM). He’s been an afterthought since Millsap was signed in free agency.

Having said that, the Kings are the worst team in the league. That’s according to the Simple Rating System at Basketball Reference, which has Sacramento dead last at minus-11.37 SRS. Denver is fourth in the Western Conference at plus-3.09. Put those together, and you’ve already got the Nugs at around –14.5 on neutral ground. Sacramento has made getting blown out an art form.

They’re not playing on neutral ground, though. The Kings are 4-2 ATS this year at home, winning each of their last three SU and ATS as underdogs between 6.5 and 10.5 points. They haven’t played since Saturday, which is good, but they could also be without shooting guard Buddy Hield (minus-0.8 BPM) after he rolled his right ankle in Friday’s win over Portland. That’s actually bad news in Sacramento’s case because Bogdan Bogdanovic (minus-2.2 BPM) is the next man up. Let’s throw a couple of sous at Sacto anyway and see what happens.

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