Kings vs Spurs Picks, Prediction Tonight | Best In-Season Tournament Bet
De’Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings. (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kings vs. Spurs Picks, Prediction for Friday, Nov. 17
Here's everything you need to know about Kings vs. Spurs on Friday, Nov. 17 — our expert prediction and betting picks for tonight.
We've got another In-Season Tournament Friday slate! The Sacramento Kings face off against the San Antonio Spurs in a group play game that means more for the Kings than San Antonio.
The Spurs are all but eliminated after going winless in their first two contests, while Sacramento will look for a 2-0 start after surprising the Thunder without De'Aaron Fox last Friday.
Fox is back, but Spurs guard Devin Vassell will miss Friday night's game with abductor soreness.
Let's get to our Kings vs. Spurs picks and prediction.
Kings vs Spurs Prediction
The Spurs are on quite a cold streak. After starting the season 3-2 (both straight up and against the spread), San Antonio has lost six straight, only covering once in that stretch. However, the Spurs have played the eighth-toughest schedule, according to Dunks and Threes, and the one game in which San Antonio covered was an In-Season Tournament matchup against the Wolves where Victor Wembanyama went for 29 points, nine rebounds, four assists, four blocks and a steal. In the two games since, Wembanyama has struggled offensively, scoring 18 and eight on 32.4% shooting. The San Antonio offense already struggles to put up points, but when Wembanyama isn’t clicking on that end, it’s even harder for the Spurs to get going. It doesn’t help that Vassell, their second-leading scorer, is out with left abductor tightness. Since last season, San Antonio’s offense improves by two points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court, per pbpstats.
Defensively, the Spurs can’t stop a nosebleed. That’s been the theme all season as San Antonio has the worst defense in the league, per Dunks and Threes, which accounts for strength of schedule in its Adjusted Defensive Rating metric. As a result, the Spurs are 9-2 to the over this season. As for the two games that went under, it wasn’t for lack of pace or because of the Spurs' defensive prowess. The average pace was 106.3 and the Spurs' opponents scored 123 points on both occasions. The issue was San Antonio’s inability to score (83 and 87 points).
The Kings have also had their issues scoring, but that was before Fox’s return from an ankle sprain. He’s played in the past two games and scored 28 points on both occasions. It may not come as a surprise to most, but Fox has a massive effect on his team’s ability to score.
Since last season, the Kings' Offensive Rating goes from 122.5 with him on the court, to 114.6 with him off the court, according to pbpstats. Perhaps more surprising, is his effect on the defense, where he’s responsible for a 6.76-point drop in Opponent Offensive Rating.
It’s important not to take too much stock in the on/off splits, since they’re so lineup dependent, but an almost seven-point swing with over a season’s worth of data, is something to consider. Plus, we can see it in the Kings' Offensive Rating for the games Fox has missed versus games in which he’s played.
Sacramento has a 121.6 Offensive Rating in games with Fox this season and a 105.5 rating without him. His offensive versatility is the engine that drives the Kings' offense. Domantas Sabonis might be the best passer on the team, but the combination of playmaking and shot making that Fox provides spreads the floor and creates openings in the paint that just aren’t there when he’s out of the lineup.
Kings vs Spurs Picks, Odds
I’ve previewed a few Spurs games and something over related is never a bad idea. You’re always going to get the Pace, the question is San Antonio's scoring. With Vassell out, I’d rather take my chances on the Kings team total, even though we’re paying a premium on a high number. It’s difficult to make these numbers high enough, especially to have it correlated with the full-game total. Because of the Spurs proclivity to go cold, bookmakers can’t make the full game total too high for fear of liability on the under, but since San Antonio gives up a league-high 124.1 points to opponents, bookmakers can’t make the team total too low either.
This leaves us with a great opportunity to hit the Kings team total over. They’re just 5-5 to their team total on the season, but they’re 4-1 to the over when Fox plays and 5-1 in wins. Meanwhile, Spurs opponents have gone over their team total in nine of 11 games and the Kings average 126.6 points in the five games with Fox in the lineup. Two of those games came against top-10 defenses in the Cavaliers (fifth) and the Warriors (seventh) and they scored 125 and 115 respectively. In a paced-up game like this, I’ll take the Kings team total over 121.5 and I like it up to 125.5.
Pick: Kings Over 121.5 Points
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