Thunder at Kings Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 1/25/2013
The Thunder may be the best team in the league, but they sure aren’t having any fun on their current road trip. They are heading into their fifth game of a six-game western tilt. They have an impressive win at the Clippers to their credit, but that’s the only highlight. They lost at Golden State and Denver, and they needed overtime to beat Dallas. The Clippers game was the only one of the four that they covered as well. They are certainly not in a position of desperate need, but it would be nice for them to get their game back on track now instead of waiting until they get home.
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On the surface it would seem like the Kings would be an easy target. They are defensively pathetic, their leading scorer is DeMarcus Cousins with just 18.1 points per game, and their 16-27 record is a long way from stellar. Despite their woes, though, they are a relatively decent team at home. They are 12-11 on their home court (which means they are a horrifying 6-16 on the road). They certainly aren’t the better team here, but if the Thunder aren’t sharp and ready the Kings could make this one interesting.
Thunder at Kings Betting Storylines
The Kings have a heck of a distraction to deal with. Just a couple of days ago the team was sold to a group from Seattle, and it’s quite possible that they will be playing there as soon as next year. The Sacramento fans obviously aren’t happy about the move, though, and there is some drama as the mayor of Sacramento — former NBA all-star Kevin Johnson — is mounting a furious campaign to try to keep the team in town. This is the second game the team has played at home since the deal was done. They were very flat in the first, and lost by 10 to Phoenix in a game that wasn’t as close as the score. This is a huge step up in class, so the mindset of the Kings has to be a serious consideration for handicappers in this one.
The Thunder aren’t as mentally focused right now as they can be, and this is a game they could easily be looking past. It’s hard to get too excited about the Kings at the best of times, and the team knows that they follow up this game with a trip into the middle of the circus that is the Lakers. This Lakers squad obviously bears no resemblance to their great teams of the past, but it’s still the Lakers, and the Thunder will still take pleasure in playing — and beating up — Kobe and company. If the focus of the Kings needs to be considered by handicappers then the headspace of the Thunder does, too.
At the heart of this game is a real statistical problem for the Kings. Oklahoma City has the best offense in the league through the first half of the season. They are tops in points with 105.9 points per game and tops in three-point shooting percentage and free throw percentage as well. Sacramento is 28th in the league in allowing 103 points per game. Scoring hasn’t been the reason the team has struggled on this trip, so they are likely to be offensively sound. The Kings need to be the best version of themselves to keep this one close. The biggest thing they have going for them, though, is that the Thunder aren’t as sharp as they could be defensively, and the Kings are completely healthy, so the full power of their offense will be on display — such as it is.
Thunder at Kings NBA Odds and Betting Trends
At Sportsbook.ag, the Kings are an 8.5-point underdog at home (as of deadline for this article). Action is heavily on the Thunder at that price, so there is a good chance that the line will climb by tipoff. The total is aggressively set at 209 points.
Five of the last seven meetings between these teams have gone “over” the total as have and 14 of their last 21 meetings in Sacramento. The Kings are just 1-8-1 ATS in their last 10 games, and haven’t covered a home game in January. Prior to this road trip, the Thunder were 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight. Sacramento has won the last four meetings between these squads, but the Kings have covered the last two — both in Oklahoma City.
Thunder at Kings Picks and Betting Predictions
The Kings were disastrous against the Suns last time out, and this is obviously a much better opponent. The Kings are not playing as well recently as they were a while ago. The Thunder’s issues are not long term, and they are talented enough and focused enough to get back on track here. This is the type of game that talented teams feast on, and that will be the case here. The Thunder are the pick.
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