Welcome to the Saturday, Jan. 12 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: 20-15 (.571)
ATS Leans: 11-8-1 (.579)
Moneyline: 13-7 (.650)
Over/Under: 9-3 (.750)
1/12/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Charlotte Hornets (19-22) vs. Sacramento Kings (21-21)
Over/Under Total: 234.0
The Hornets sport some of the more drastic home/road splits in the NBA. Their consistent failure to rise to the occasion away from their home floor has largely been their undoing. The Hornets have come up short in 14 of 19 away contests this season, with half of those losses coming by double digits. The most recent example came Friday night, when Charlotte was blasted by the Trail Blazers, 127-96, a game in which Portland essentially put the game away in the first half with 70 points over the first 24 minutes.
As could be expected, there’s also a disparity when looking at more granular numbers beyond wins and losses in terms of the Hornets’ road body of work. For example, the Hornets are allowing the fourth-most points per game (117.3) of any team on the road. In turn, they sport the fourth-lowest shooting percentage (43.8) in away contests. Then, they’re tied with the Knicks for the third-highest success rate from the field allowed (48.3 percent) when traveling. Included in that number is the eighth-highest road three-point percentage allowed (37.0).
Meanwhile, the Kings are about as proficient at home as the Hornets are bad on the road. Sacramento comes in averaging a robust 113.4 points per contest on their home floor of Golden 1 Center. Even their suspect defense is a tick better there — the Kings yield a still-high 114.5 points per game at home, but it’s an improvement over the 117.8 they’re surrendering in away games. And in their last three games — two of which have come at home — Sacramento is allowing just 43.6 percent shooting, the sixth-lowest figure in the NBA over that span. The Kings boast a 12-10 record at home overall, with a third of those wins coming by more than Saturday’s 5.5-point spread.
It’s also worth noting the Kings present as a bad matchup for the Hornets in both three-point shooting and pace. Sacramento boasts the second-highest three-point success rate of any team (39.0 percent), including the second highest of any squad on its home floor (38.8 percent). They’re led by the duo of Buddy Hield and Nemanja Bjelica, who sport impressive success rates of 44.4 and 43.5 percent from distance. Those numbers could well spell trouble for Charlotte, given their previously described issues defending the three-point shot.
Then, Sacramento checks in playing at a breakneck pace of 107.4 possessions per game, second highest in the NBA as well. That will test a Hornets squad playing on the second game of a back-to-back and on the fifth game of a Western Conference swing. Charlotte is also accustomed to a more deliberate pace overall (104.5 possessions per contest).
By the Numbers
The Hornets are 8-11 (42.1 percent) against the spread this season. That includes a 6-7 mark (46.2 percent) versus the number as a road underdog. Charlotte is also an NBA-worst 3-9 (25.0 percent) against the spread in non-conference games.
The Kings are 24-17-1 (58.5 percent) versus the spread overall this season. That includes a 14-7-1 (66.7 percent) mark versus the number as a home team, and a 3-1 tally (75.0 percent) as a home favorite. Sacramento is also an NBA-best 9-2-1 (81.8 percent) against the spread in non-conference games and an NBA-best 17-5 (77.3 percent) when playing on one days’ rest.
The Final Word
The Hornets continued struggling on the road Friday night in Portland and now have to turn around and take the floor again 24 hours later against one of the fastest-paced squads in the NBA. The spread isn’t an overly daunting one here, and Sacramento’s body of work versus the number under multiple scenarios that apply to tonight’s contest is outstanding. While I don’t see Charlotte getting embarrassed for a second straight contest, I do lean toward the Kings pulling away enough here to cover before the final buzzer.
The Lean: Kings -5.5, Kings moneyline