Welcome to the Thursday, November 29, 2018, edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for tonight I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Season to Date:
ATS Picks: 14-7 (.667)
ATS Leans: 4-4 (.500)
Moneyline: 6-3 (.667)
Over/Under: 4-2 (.667)
11/29/18 NBA Betting Pick:
Los Angeles Clippers (14-6) at Sacramento Kings (10-10)
Over/Under Total: 235.0
The Kings appeared to catch the rest of the league by storm when they opened the season with a 6-3 record. That stretch included a win over the Grizzlies, as well as three straight road victories over the Heat, Magic and Hawks by an average of 16.3 points. Things have been a bit rockier since that point. Sacramento sports just a 4-7 mark in the subsequent 11 games. Still, it’s worth noting that quartet of triumphs has come against four Western Conference playoff teams from last season — the Timberwolves, Spurs, Thunder and Jazz. Three of the wins came at home.
And, given their 27-55 record last season, the fact Sacramento is a .500 team 20 games into the new campaign is definitely noteworthy. A variety of factors have played into their success. Coach Dave Joerger has implemented a much more fast-paced attack. Last season, the Kings finished with a molasses-like pace of 98.1 possessions per game. That figure qualified as the second slowest in the league. They’ve done a complete 360 thus far in the new season. Sacramento checks into Thursday’s contest playing at the NBA’s second-fastest clip (108.4 possessions per game).
Then, the Kings have benefited from the significant improvement demonstrated by several of their key young pieces:
- De’Aaron Fox– 17.5 PPG, 7.5 APG, 4.0 RPG, 47.1 percent shooting (2017-18– 11.6 PPG, 4.4 APG, 2.8 RPG, 41.2 percent shooting)
- Willie Cauley-Stein– 14.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 52.9 percent shooting (2017-18– 12.8 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 50.2 percent shooting)
- Buddy Hield– 18.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.7 APG, 48.5 percent shooting (2017-18– 13.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, 44.6 percent shooting)
Plus, offseason additions have made quite a positive impact. The new power forward duo of free-agent acquisition Nemanja Bjelica (11.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 53.5 percent overall shooting, 50.7 percent three-point shooting) and second overall pick Marvin Bagley III (12.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.3 BPG, 50.8 percent shooting) has proven a highly effective 1-2 punch. Veteran Iman Shumpert, who arrived almost as an afterthought at the trade deadline last season, is contributing a career-high 9.9 points on career-best 43.7 percent shooting. And, the immediate return to form of Bogdan Bogdanovic (13.9 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.8 APG over first nine games) following preseason knee surgery has provided a boost to the bench as well.
For their part, the Clippers have certainly opened plenty of eyes. Thought to be a fringe playoff team at best entering the season, Los Angeles sits atop the Western Conference at present alongside the Warriors. They’ll come into Thursday’s contest hot, having won eight of their last 10 games. A lot of the same factors in the Kings’ success have played into the Clippers’ early-season surge. Like Sacramento, Los Angeles boasts an emerging young point guard (rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander), an offensively proficient small forward (Danilo Gallinari) and a very effective tandem at power forward (Tobias Harris and Montrezl Harrell, with the latter also frequently putting in time at center). And, they too have a reserve two-guard capable of putting up points in a hurry (Lou Williams).
Yet, there are a handful of metrics worth noting that tilt in favor of the Kings keeping this game close throughout — if not securing an outright win.
The Clippers have seen a bit of an offensive downturn over their last three games, scoring an average of 110.3 points, a figure well below their seasonal figure of 116.8. That’s been accompanied by a three-percentage-point-plus drop in team shooting during that stretch (43.7 percent, compared to 46.9 percent for the season). Then, Los Angeles has allowed seven more points per game on the road this season (115.3, compared to 108.3 at home).
The Clippers also surrender a 34.9 percent success rate from three-point range away from their home floor. That’s a notable bump from the 31.4 percent they yield at Staples Center. That figure is also particularly relevant when making a case for the Kings — Sacramento boasts the best team three-point shooting percentage (38.6) in the NBA, including a 40.8 percent figure over the last three.
By the Numbers
The Clippers are 5-5 (50.0 percent) against the number as a road team. They’re also 1-1 versus the spread on the second game of back-to-backs.
The Kings are 12-7-1 (63.2 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes a 6-2-1 (75.0 percent) mark versus the number as a home underdog. Sacramento is also 5-3-1 (62.5 percent) against the spread after a loss.
The Final Word
Bot teams have surprised to varying degree with their respective performances this season. The Clippers have undeniably been the more impressive of the two squads. However, five of their six losses have come on the road. Three of those have come to the three teams (Pelicans, 76ers and Wizards) that are directly behind the Kings in pace. The line seems at least partly influenced by Sacramento’s embarrassing blowout loss to the Jazz their last time out. Yet, the Kings have had three full days to refresh and regroup. Given their status as the more rested team and home-floor advantage, I tab them to come in under the three-point number at minimum.
The Pick: Kings +3