Day two of the In-Season Tournament is tonight, which means the return of the colorful courts and another data point into how teams are handling weighing these games versus standard regular season contests. The Kings have had a few nights at home after a three-game road trip and the Thunder just left after a season-long six-game homestand. On the surface, alarms should be going off in your head about this being a Sacramento rest spot but not so fast.
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Team vs. Team Betting Odds
Team vs. Team Best Bets
Thunder -1.5 (-112, FanDuel)
This play is as much about the Kings as it is about the Thunder. De’Aaron Fox has been ruled out for his fifth straight game and the numbers are stark when Fox plays versus when he is out. Since Fox left the lineup, Sacramento is dead last in net rating on Cleaning the Glass at -13.9. They sport the worst offensive rating at 102.2 and the 18th-ranked defense at 116.1.
Maybe most concerning for how the Kings like to play, is the pace has slowed to a crawl. With Fox, the pace was 104.17, and without him, it is 95.88. There is some noise because two of the games are against the Houston Rockets, who have the slowest pace in the league so far this season but when right, Sacramento can get in transition and force at least some tempo against anyone.
The easy baskets are non-existent without Fox. Without Fox, the Kings are getting to the rim at the lowest rate in the league and there is not as much space for shooters because there is not a driver to have to respect as much. Sabonis is a fine secondary playmaker but when he is the guy, it is not a recipe for a good offense.
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For the Thunder, the spot is not ideal but everything else around this matchup plays in their favor with Fox still missing tonight’s game. One of the few ways the Kings limit a team offensively is by not allowing second-chance opportunities but with how the Thunder are built, that is not a big part of their game as is. The Thunder are 27th in ORB% on Cleaning the Glass but have maintained the seventh-best offensive rating at 116.8.
With how Oklahoma City likes to play five out, Chet Holmgren can take Domantas Sabonis away from the basket and make him play in space. Sabonis’ lack of length and reliance on brute force makes him better at winning in a phone booth and bodying up opponents.
The question becomes can the Kings get enough easy baskets to keep up with the Thunder offensively? The early returns without De’Aaron Fox say that is not very likely and this line may be leaning too much on the rest spot and not the reality of what both teams are at this point in time.
Risk: 1.12 units on FanDuel to win 1 unit.