Kings vs Bucks Prediction, Picks Tonight (Sunday, Jan. 14)

Kings vs Bucks Prediction, Picks Tonight (Sunday, Jan. 14) article feature image

Harrison Barnes #40 of the Sacramento Kings and Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks look on during the game. (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

Kings vs. Bucks Prediction, Picks for Sunday, Jan. 14

Sunday, Jan. 14
7 p.m. ET
League Pass
Bucks -5

Here's everything you need to know about Kings vs. Bucks on Sunday, Jan. 14 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.

The Bucks might finally be finding their stride after a 135-102 victory over the Celtics on Thursday. Milwaukee followed that performance with a 129-118 victory over Golden State on Saturday.

The Milwaukee Bucks now face a Sacramento Kings team looking to bounce back from a 112-93 loss to the 76ers.

Although Sacramento has a one-day rest advantage with Milwaukee on the second leg of a back-to-back, I'll share why the Bucks are the last team the Kings would want to face in this spot.

Let's get to our Kings vs. Bucks prediction and pick.

Kings vs. Bucks Prediction

Pick: Bucks -5

Kings Due for Regression

At 23-15, Sacramento is just four games out of the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Through 38 games last season, the Kings had a 20-18 mark before finishing as the third seed in the Western Conference.

While it looks like the Kings are ahead of schedule, their Pythagorean Expectation suggests regression is looming.

Sacramento's +0.5 Point Differential is the worst mark of any team at least two games over .500. Based on those numbers, the Kings should be closer to a 20-win team. According to TeamRankings, the Kings have the highest luck factor of any team in the league.

While Sacramento's defense has remained relatively flat year-over-year in terms of efficiency, its offense has dropped from first in the league down to 14th.

Thus, when you look at their overall numbers, it's difficult to ascertain exactly how this version of the Kings is better than last season.

Offense Takes Bucks to Another Level

If we turn to the Bucks, it's much easier to see their strides this season. Milwaukee improved its offensive efficiency from 112 points per 100 possessions to an elite 117.8. That's nearly a six-point move which has yielded a Net Rating increase of 1.5 points.

However, perhaps the biggest surprise has been such a steep a drop-off in the Bucks defense, as they're down to 20th in efficiency after finishing fourth last season.

Nonetheless, Milwaukee's gains on offense ensure that the team wins games with better margins.

There are a few things we can attribute to this improvement:

  • Milwaukee is playing with more pace as it is averaging 105.7 possessions.
  • The Bucks are taking better shots, increasing their effective field goal percentage from 55.5% to 58.1%.

Even with Damian Lillard's arrival, the Bucks are attempting (37.4 vs. 40.4) and making fewer 3-pointers (14.3 vs. 14.9) compared to last season.

With Lillard being a legitimate threat on the perimeter, Giannis Antetokounmpo can now spend more time closer to the basket, where he's more effective. As a result, the Bucks have increased their points in the paint from 46 per game last season to 50.9 this season.

This version of the Bucks looks much more sustainable, given the level of competition they can expect to face in the postseason.

Kings vs. Bucks Prediction, Odds

Sunday, Jan. 14
7 p.m.
League Pass
Kings Odds
Bucks Odds
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

As expected, it has taken some time for the Bucks to figure things out after Lillard's acquisition. However, the underlying metrics suggest there is more validity to Milwaukee being ahead of schedule compared to what we're seeing with Sacramento.

Thus, the Bucks should have plenty of confidence coming into this contest against a Kings team they haven't lost to in 14 consecutive meetings.

Moreover, Milwaukee went 10-4 against the spread (ATS) in those meetings.

Although the Bucks will be playing on back-to-back nights, our Action Labs database shows they're 30-19 ATS in this spot when laying single digits and coming off a double-digit victory.

In contrast, Sacramento is 69-80-4 ATS when it has two days between games and a one-day rest advantage.

The Bucks have shown time and time again that they can win and cover in this difficult spot. Given their momentum coupled with an opponent they've dominated, I'll gladly lay the five points at FanDuel with Milwaukee at home.

Pick: Bucks -5

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