DENVER NUGGETS (20-14)
at SACRAMENTO KINGS (7-25)
Tip-off: Thursday, 10:30 p.m. EDT
Line: Denver -5.5, Total: 209
The Nuggets look for a rare road win when they travel to Sacramento and face a Kings team with the worst record in the NBA at 7-25. Denver is 5-11 SU on the road this season and has dropped six of its past eight games away from home, including a 106-93 loss at the Clippers on Wednesday night. Odds.
The defeat in Los Angeles snapped a four-game win streak for the Nuggets. Denver welcomed back the return of Carmelo Anthony in its recent 104-86 win over the Kings on New Year’s Day, after he missed five games due to his sister’s death. Anthony missed 15 of his first 18 shots and finished with 16 points. But he also added 10 rebounds as Denver dominated Sacramento on the boards, outrebounding them 68-45. He has now gotten back on track with back-to-back 30-point efforts with 20 rebounds in the two games. The Nuggets went 2-3 SU in his absence. Scores.
Al Harrington returned to the lineup in Wednesday’s loss to the Clippers, after missing the past four games with a thumb injury, marking the first time the Nuggets had an entirely healthy roster all season. This didn’t last long as Ty Lawson left nearly five minutes before halftime with a sprained knee and didn’t return. He is probable to play against the Kings.
The Nuggets weren’t able hold off the Clippers on either end of the court. Anthony led the game with 31 points, but Denver only shot 37.5 FG% and was outrebounded 63 to 54. During the four-game winning streak prior, Denver was shooting 46.0% from the floor and outscoring its opponents by 12.3 PPG, scoring 107.8 PPG and holding opponents to 95.5 PPG.
Sacramento is 2-2 since losing eight in a row. The Kings had two impressive wins over Memphis and Phoenix in the past four contests, bit they lost most recently on Tuesday at home against the Hawks, 108-102. Sacramento remains one of the poorer offensive teams in the league, averaging 94.6 PPG (25th in NBA) on 43.1 FG% (third-worst in NBA), and is also sub-par defensively, allowing 101.3 PPG (20th in NBA).
Playing at home bodes well for Sacramento in this series, as the Kings have won three straight games over Denver at Arco Arena. However, the Kings are only 5-15 SU (6-13-1 ATS) at home this season and only 3-17 SU against Western Conference teams overall. With a rejuvenated Anthony and the return of Harrington for this second meeting against the Kings, I pick Denver to win and cover. These highly-rated FoxSheets stats also side with Denver to win and cover the spread:
SACRAMENTO is 0-10 ATS (-11.0 Units) versus good foul drawing teams – attempting >=27 free throws/game this season. The average score was SACRAMENTO 92.0, OPPONENT 103.5 – (Rating = 4*). Las Vegas odds.
SACRAMENTO is 3-16 ATS (15.8%, -14.6 Units) versus poor defensive teams – allowing 99+ points/game this season. The average score was SACRAMENTO 94.0, OPPONENT 102.4 – (Rating = 3*).
This FoxSheets trends leans towards the Under.
DENVER is 30-11 UNDER (73.2%, +17.9 Units) versus poor foul drawing teams – attempting <=24 free throws/game over the last 2 seasons. The average score was DENVER 102.5, OPPONENT 98.2 – (Rating = 3*).