Kings vs. Suns Odds
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
After wrapping up a long, full day of college hoops and a marquee Bucks-Warriors matchup on ABC, we’ve got one more huge basketball game to finish up our Saturday night between the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns.
This is a huge game for both teams as they jostle for seeding and a potential Pacific Division crown.
The Kings enter at 39-26, up three games in the loss column on the 37-29 Suns. But Phoenix has won both games against Sacramento this season and would clinch the head-to-head tiebreaker with a win here, even with one game between the teams remaining.
On the flip side, a Kings win would push the Suns four losses back with only 16 games left. That’s a huge margin and would give Sacramento a huge edge for the division crown. It also likely locks the Kings into at least a 3-seed, keeping them away from Denver’s side of the bracket and maybe Phoenix’s too.
Both teams will badly want this game. But the Suns that won the first two head-to-head games are a different team now — for better and for worse.
Here’s my breakdown for Kings vs. Suns, including a pick and prediction.
The Kings continue to be one of the great stories of this NBA season. They made sure to light the beam with another great home win on national television Thursday night against the Knicks, and Sacramento’s offense continues to roll.
The Kings are all offense and precious little defense. Sacramento leads the league in Offensive Rating but ranks bottom five in Defensive Rating. The Kings play at a fast pace and the points come pouring in on both sides, with Sacramento games averaging 239.4 PPG.
Sacramento’s defense is miserable. They give up easy looks inside the arc and out, and opponents rack up outstanding shooting percentages. The Kings do well on the glass to close out possessions, but too many of those possessions are ending with them taking the ball out under their own basket.
It’s a good thing the offense is so great. The Kings lead the league in 2-point percentage, hit plenty of 3s, and get to the line. Domantas Sabonis is a nightly triple-double threat, and at least one of De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter, and Malik Monk seems to get hot any given night. Mike Brown has this offense purring, and the Kings’ m.o. is clear: play loose, push the pace, and just try to outrun and outscore the opponent.
While the Kings appear to be a finished product at this point, we’re still figuring out what these Suns are. After missing Jae Crowder and then Cam Johnson for most of the season, they then traded that duo away along with Mikal Bridges in the Kevin Durant trade.
But Durant has played only three games and is now out at least two to three weeks with that new ankle injury, leaving the Suns without their new superstar or all that wing depth they traded away. Can just Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton get the job done?
The Suns are 5-3 since the Durant trade when KD sits, though one of those wins notably came against these Kings. Phoenix was missing Paul in its other win over Sacramento, and in both cases, the Suns seemed to find points just fine. Booker poured in 32 and 44 points in the wins, and Ayton had uber-efficient 17/12 and 29/11 games as he got easy looks all night. Booker — and CP3 in the one 19-assist game he played — picked this bad defense apart.
Durant’s absence likely means starts for both Josh Okogie and Torrey Craig, plus more Ish Wainright and Damion Lee off the bench. That might actually strengthen Phoenix’s defensive effort against all that Kings movement and shooting, and so far against this porous Kings defense, it hasn’t hurt the attack. Phoenix ranks top-five in 2-point percentage defense which offsets a Kings strength, and its relatively middling shooting numbers offensively on the season take a leap when Phoenix can get to its spots so easily against this D.
Phoenix has also had a real bench advantage in the past two matchups, even playing shorthanded. Malik Monk is Sacramento’s only real bench scorer (and missed one of the two matchups) and just hasn’t been enough. Phoenix has slowed Sacramento down and scored efficiently, winning by five and 11.
The Durant injury may be a blessing in disguise for bettors here, buying value on a disguised line with KD out.
Even without Durant, Booker and Paul have shown they can pick apart this lackluster Kings defense. The Suns won both games shorthanded, one on Valentine’s Day with effectively this same Durant-less roster, with the three remaining Suns stars having big games.
I’ll be looking for some Suns overs on props. Paul had 19 assists in his one Kings game, and Booker averaged 39.0 PPG in his two games and has been on fire lately. I especially have my eye on Ayton, averaging 23/11.5 with a pair of efficient double-doubles. I’ll look to play a points escalator as he should find some easy finishing looks against this beatable defense.
In the end, I love what the Kings are doing, but I have to back the team that has proven it can win in this spot and that’s playing at home on a discounted line.
Phoenix is only 15-19 on the road but the Suns are 22-10 at home. The Suns are pushing to improve playoff positioning and hold down the fort without Durant, and this is a game CP3, Book, and Ayton are good enough to win even with KD watching.
The Kings have only lost by less than three points three times all season, while the Suns have only won by three or less twice. So if you like the Kings, you should probably just take the moneyline instead of the spread — and if you trust the Suns, go ahead and lay the points.
Sacramento may still win this season-long war, but in a big spot at home with such a short line, I’ll back the favorite to win the battle. Give me Suns -3 and I’ll play to -3.5.