The Sacramento Kings (23-40) visit the Big Easy Wednesday to play the New Orleans Pelicans (25-36) at Smoothie King Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET. Below, we look at the Kings vs. Pelicans odds and lines, and make our expert NBA picks, predictions and bets.
New Orleans is 2-0 since the All-Star break, winning both games on the road, first at the Phoenix Suns (117-102 Friday) and the Los Angeles Lakers (123-95 Sunday). The Pelicans are tied for 10th place in the West with the Portland Trail Blazers, 1.5 games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs.
Sacramento is 13th in the West, 3 games behind New Orleans. The Kings were trade-deadline buyers, acquiring for PF Domantas Sabonis in a multi-player deal that sent PG Tyrese Haliburton and SG Buddy Hield to the Indiana Pacers. Since the All-Star game, the Kings are 1-2 straight up (SU) but 2-1 against the spread (ATS).
The Kings are 2-0 SU/ATS versus the Pelicans this season, but those games were back on Oct. 29 and Nov. 3.
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Kings at Pelicans odds, spread and lines
Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated at 3:22 p.m. ET.
Money line (ML): Kings +205 (bet $100 to win $205) | Pelicans -260 (bet $260 to win $100)
Against the spread: Kings +6.5 (-120) | Pelicans -6.5 (-105)
Over/Under (O/U): 232.5 (O: -115 | U: -107)
Kings at Pelicans key injuries
C Richaun Holmes (back) questionable
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Kings at Pelicans odds, lines, picks and predictions
Pelicans 119, Kings 106
New Orleans (-260) is too rich for my blood even though there’s a big difference between its current version and the NOLA team that started the season 1-12 SU. Two of those losses were to Sacramento.
But New Orleans is .500 since the 1-12 start and is trending up entering this game. Since Feb. 1, the Pelicans are 7-4 SU with the seventh-best adjusted net rating, according to CleaningTheGlass.com.
Also, New Orleans is playing better over that span versus bad teams, and Sacramento has the fifth-worst adjusted net rating. The Pelicans are 4-0 SU versus teams in the bottom 10 of net efficiency with a plus-16.5 adjusted net rating (ranked third).
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Against the spread
BET PELICANS -6.5 (-105) for 1 unit.
They are exceeding expectations since February, including against weak competition. They are third in ATS margin (plus-5.5) since the start of February and second in ATS margin versus bottom-10 teams (plus-12.1).
Furthermore, the Pelicans are 5-2-1 ATS as home favorites, 3-1 ATS when favored by 5-7 points and 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games versus teams with a losing record. The Kings are 9-13 ATS as road underdogs.
LEAN to the UNDER 232.5 (-107) because I prefer the Pelicans’ spread more than the total.
However, NOLA’s defense allows the third-fewest fast-break points per game (PPG) and the seventh-fewest paint PPG. Plus, Sacramento has the fourth-worst effective field-goal percentage in the NBA.
The Pelicans need to light it up for this Over to cash, but I could see this game dying out in the second half if NOLA has this game sealed.
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