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NBA betting picks

Welcome to the Sunday, March 24 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 SportsbookFanDuel Sportsbook888 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.

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Season to Date:

ATS Leans/Picks: 49-38-1 (.563)
Moneyline: 29-9 (.763)
Over/Under: 26-15-1 (.634)

3/24/19 NBA Betting Pick:

Sacramento Kings (36-36) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (31-41)

DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Kings -2 (o/u: 231)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Kings -2 (o/u: 231)
888 Sportsbook Odds: Kings -2 (o/u: 231)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: OTB

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The Breakdown

The divisional clash between the Kings and Lakers on Sunday has postseason implications for a Sacramento squad still trying to parlay their significant improvement this season into the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. While the Kings’ chances remain remote, the only way they can sneak in is by piling up as many wins as possible and hoping another Western hopeful falters dramatically. That could serve as motivation for Los Angeles. They’re out of the postseason conversation and are left to play spoiler whenever possible.

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As much as the game shapes up as yet another must-win scenario for the Kings, they may have a challenge on their hands. They’ll be playing on the second game of a back-to-back and third game in four nights. And while their trip over from Sacramento late Saturday night was a short one, the same-day flights always take a slight toll. Moreover, Saturday’s win over the Suns required plenty of effort from the Kings’ front-line players. De’Aaron Fox (34 minutes), Harrison Barnes (35 minutes), Nemanja Bjelica (36 minutes), and Buddy Hield (36 minutes) all put in heavy work, while Marvin Bagley (29 minutes) saw a robust workload off the bench.

That could certainly play a factor in the Kings being a bit less potent offensively today. Sacramento is already a tick less proficient on the scoring front when traveling. The Kings are averaging 113.3 points per road tilt, compared to 114.8 at home. And they’ve seen a considerable downturn when playing on the second game of a back-to-back, as they’ll do for the 13th time this season Sunday. Sacramento is averaging 105.7 points per contest in those scenarios. That’s a steep drop from the 114.1 per game they average overall on the season.

Then, for the high-flying reputation they carry, the Lakers are much more likely to see their games fall under the projected total (as detailed in By The Numbers). That’s even more likely now that they’re playing out the string. For example, nine of the Lakers’ last 10 games have come in under Sunday’s robust total. And for the season, 25 of Los Angeles’ 35 home games have finished under 231 points.

That’s partly the result of the Lakers actually being a less successful team offensively at Staples Center. Los Angeles scores 110.9 points per home game, compared to 112.4 on the road. The defensive numbers go the other way, though (and toward this Under pick). The Lakers’ 111.7 points per game allowed at Staples is a notable reduction from the 116.1 they’re yielding when traveling.

L.A. has also made teams work for those points at home. The Lakers yield just a 44.7 percent success rate from the floor at Staples. That’s the sixth-lowest figure allowed by any team on its home floor. They also rank in the top 10 in three-point percentage yielded at home (34.7 percent). Their ability to limit opposing shooters could certainly play a pivotal part versus a Kings squad that they’ve already limited to under 45.0 percent shooting in two of the prior three meetings this season.

By The Numbers

The Under is 36-36 (.500) in Kings games this season. That includes a 4-3 mark (57.1 percent) in their games as away favorites and a 7-5 tally (58.3 percent) in the second game of back-to-backs.

The Under is 43-28-1 (NBA-best 60.6 percent) in Lakers games. That includes a 24-10-1 mark (NBA-best 70.6 percent) in the Lakers’ home games and a 6-4-1 mark (60.0 percent) in the Lakers’ games as home underdogs. The Under is also 25-15 (62.5 percent) in games following a Lakers loss, 24-19 (55.8 percent), in games they’ve played with one day of rest, and 8-5 (61.5 percent) in their division games.

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The Final Word

Both of these teams can certainly put up points, but the total here is a hefty one. Additionally, the Lakers’ track record actually tilts heavily toward the Under, and the Kings may have a bit less spring in their legs than usual while playing their third game in four nights. While I still envision solid point production here, the final total should come in slightly under 231.

The Pick: Under 231