Warriors vs. Kings Odds
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
If you like scoring, you’re in for a treat. Saturday night tips off the most high-flying and exciting matchup of the first round, and there will be plenty of offense.
The Sacramento Kings are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2006. The Kings have gone through 12 coaches since then. They’ve lost 843 games since that last playoff game 6,188 days ago. But none of that matters now.
Light the beam, because the Kings are back and the Golden 1 Center will be rocking.
It’s easy to forget now, but the Warriors were nearly as forlorn a franchise as the Kings a decade ago. Now, they’ve won four of the past eight titles, and that championship core will look to spoil Sacramento’s party.
The Warriors were a horrendous 11-30 on the road, but this team has lost only two playoff series in eight years. Will the Kings light the beam in Game 1, or will the dynasty prevail?
Let’s breakdown this matchup and come up with a betting prediction for Warriors vs. Kings.
Golden State Warriors
It’s fair to wonder how much of Golden State’s regular season profile is really even applicable in the playoffs. Stephen Curry played only 55 games, and Andrew Wiggins played just 37. The team played its young players early and often, and those road woes might be chalked up to effort and focus as much as anything.
There’s no question the Warriors are a different team when they flip the switch. The question is only how quickly they’ll flip it and how far the switch goes.
It looks like Wiggins will finally make his return, but it remains to be seen how much he’ll play or if he’ll even start. He’s really become an outstanding do-everything role player on this team and his return will go a long way toward stabilizing the rotation and balancing the defense. The Warriors are small and could struggle on the glass in this series, but Wiggins stepped up his rebounding last postseason and scored effectively against the Kings in the regular season.
The Warriors have a +7.7 Net Rating with Curry and Draymond Green on the court together, per Pivot Analysis. That goes up to +16.1 when including Kevon Looney. He’s the one reliable big man on this roster, but he may not have the foot speed to handle this matchup, so keep a close eye on how much he can play against Domantas Sabonis.
The Warriors are still the same team you know. They’re bombing as many 3s as ever, with Klay Thompson the league leader in 3s and Curry the leader in 3s per game. And they still barely get to the line and struggle with turnovers in bunches when things get sloppy. The defense hasn’t hit its usual ceiling, but Green remains elite and could really wreak havoc on the Kings offense.
The Kings, on the other hand, are not at all the Kings you’ve come to know the past couple decades.
Sacramento plays fast and scores in bunches. The Kings had the No. 1 Offensive Rating this year, not just in the NBA, but in league history.
Sabonis led the league in rebounds per game and is a nightly triple-double threat as the offense plays through him. Additionally, De’Aaron Fox is a finalist for clutch player of the year as the team’s closer and leading scorer. Add in Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk as snipers and rookie Keegan Murray to former Warrior Harrison Barnes, and the Kings offense is cooking.
Since January 9, the Kings are 28-14 with a +5.1 Net Rating, best in the West and fourth best in the NBA. Sacramento has an absurd 122.4 ORTG during that stretch. This is not just a cute story anymore. Those numbers say we have to take this team seriously.
There are some underlying concerns though. Sacramento was arguably the healthiest of all the playoff teams, with every key rotation guy playing at least 72 games, so that boosts all the metrics and helped them get to an admittedly weak No. 3 seed. The bench also posted better metrics than the starters, and that advantage is muted in the playoffs.
And then there’s the defense. The Kings ranked 25th in Defensive Rating for the season, and even that stretch since January 9th still saw them at 22nd. The shot profile allowed is a mess both inside and outside the arc. The Kings defense ranks 26th in EFG. They simply allow far too many easy, open looks.
This team has no choice but to win a track meet, and inviting the Warriors to a track meet is a bit like getting involved in a land war in Asia.
All the focus will be on 3s in this series, but Sacramento’s poor 2-point defense could be key. The Kings allow the fourth most 2s at 56%. The Warriors lead the league in assists per game and the Kings allow the third most. In four regular season matchups, the Warriors made 112 of their 189 2-pointers, a 59.3% conversion rate. That’s 1.19 points per possession, a massive number.
The Warriors are 21-3 in Game 1s in this eight-year dynastic run.
Golden State’s offense is unlike anything else in the NBA and always takes opponents a game or two to adjust. No other offense is in such constant motion, with endless back cuts and two of the best shooters ever running around screens all night and launching a barrage of relocation 3s.
The Warriors tend to rack up easy 2s early in these series before the opponent catches up defensively, and when the Kings defense is this bad against 2s to start with, that could spell trouble in Game 1.
Forget the road record or the dynasty conversation. These is still the same Warriors offense, built to shred this Kings defense early, just like Golden State has done to every other playoff opponent for a decade.
We back the Warriors in playoff Game 1s. I’m playing the moneyline and expecting a Warriors road victory.