Lakers vs. Kings Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Los Angeles Lakers visit the Sacramento Kings Saturday facing an 0-2 season-series hole. The two teams will face each other one last time in L.A on Jan. 18 and the best the Lakers can hope for is a season split — but first they have to pull out a win tonight.
Both teams are coming off games against the Atlanta Hawks, but the results were different for each team. The Kings lost a hard-fought battle that came down to a Dejounte Murray steal on De’Aaron Fox to seal the game for Atlanta.
The Lakers had an easier time with the Hawks, taking a substantial lead in the first quarter and never looking back. Can the Lakers keep their streak alive or will the Kings top the King for a third time this season? Here’s a look at the odds, as well as our pick and prediction for the Lakers vs. Kings.
Lakers Need to Dominate the Interior
Neither of the two previous meetings saw a fully healthy Lakers squad with LeBron James missing from the first game on Nov. 11, and Anthony Davis absent on Dec. 21. With Davis still sidelined, it will be up to James and the gang to avoid a 0-3 hole for the season series, which could have potential seeding implications if both teams are lucky enough to be in the Play-In Tournament, or better yet, the playoff mix in April.
The Lakers have been a flawed team all season, but two areas where they could challenge the Kings are rebounds and free throws. The Lakers likely won’t win the 3-point battle, so their best chance is through attacking the rim, fighting for extra possessions and drawing free throws.
Players like James and Russell Westbrook make the Lakers an aggressive slashing team. The Lakers rank 11th in Free Throw Rate at 22.4%, while the Kings have an Opponent Free Throw Rate of just 21.8% (20th), according to Cleaning the Glass.
In their first game, the Lakers attempted 26 free throws to the Kings’ 21, and out-rebounded the Kings 41-40 — margins they’ll need to widen if they want to have a chance at winning in Sacramento.
The second game, which was much more of a blowout, saw the Lakers shoot just two more free throws than Sacramento and in that instance they lost the rebound battle entirely — the wider the margins in those areas, the closer the game.
Part of getting to the line, means getting to the rim, a category in which the Lakers excel. Their 39.5% Rim Rate is second only to Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans, while the Kings have an Opponent Rim Rate of 34.2% (17th).
The Kings’ defensive scheme relies more heavily on preventing three pointers at all costs, which could lead to an edge for the Lakers if they can manage to exploit the weak defense of the Kings down low. However, that could be more difficult without Davis.
Kings Should Win 3-Point Battle
The Kings have been a pleasant surprise this season after years of disappointment. They have the longest active playoff drought, but the Kings’ front office has famously been in the business of remaking the franchise in a fresh and positive light.
Kings general manager Monte McNair shocked everyone last season with a blockbuster trade for Domantas Sabonis that sent Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield to the Indiana Pacers. Improving on their makeover, McNair also added shooting with the offseason acquisitions of Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter.
The Kings sit fifth in the West and lead the Pacific Division — one of the most competitive in the league — by one game. Saturday’s game will be important for Sacramento because a win will guarantee the season series, which could have playoff implications in April. At a minimum, it would put Sacramento back on track after Thursday’s loss to the Hawks, which kicked off a five-game home stand.
The Kings shoot 38.2% of their shots from beyond the arc, while the Lakers allow a tepid 35.8% (18th in the league), so a high-volume 3-point shooting game favors the Kings.
In their first two meetings this season, the Kings defense did well — as they have all year — at preventing above-the-break 3s, ranking in the 98th and 94th percentile in their first and second matchups respectively, a popular area for the relatively poor shooting Lakers.
Sacramento allows the fewest in the league (23.4% of their total shot diet), but they aren’t quite as good at limiting teams in the corner at 8.9%, which ranks 13th and is the area from which the Lakers like to take what few 3s they shoot.
Ultimately, the Lakers aren’t much of a 3-point shooting team and the Kings will have to manage the Lakers rim attack and do their best to keep from fouling, but it may not matter if it ends up coming down to a math problem and the Kings are hot from deep.
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The Lakers will be playing on a back-to-back, so there’s a chance James sits, but L.A. to Sacramento isn’t far and James was able to rest for the final 6:17. Dennis Schroeder (35 minutes), and Russell Westbrook (31 minutes) also shouldered a relatively light load.
With a nine-point spread and the way the Kings have been playing lately (3-4 straight up, but 1-6 against the spread), it’s hard to look anywhere but the Lakers’ direction who are 5-1 both straight up and against the spread in their last six. It wouldn’t hurt to take a small stab at the moneyline as well.
If you felt compelled to place your money on the Kings side, I’d look to Sabonis for an over on rebounds. FanDuel currently has over 14.5 at +102, which is good, but he grabbed 21 boards last meeting without Davis and the Lakers are 10th in rebounds allowed. As Sabonis is the most likely candidate to benefit from Davis’ absence once again, I’ll play his alt-over of 16+ (+155) for a half unit.
Pick: Lakers +9, bet to +7.5 (-110) 1u | Lakers moneyline (+310) .5u