Kings vs. Mavericks NBA Odds & Picks: Back Dallas vs. Woeful Sacramento (Sunday, April 18)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic.
- In need of wins to improve their playoff standing, the Mavericks are sure glad to see the Kings.
- Sacramento has been one of the worst teams in the NBA over its last 10 and faces a Dallas team that is looking to avoid a play-in game.
- Kenny Ducey breaks down why he's backing the Mavs to cover at home against the Kings.
Kings vs. Mavericks Odds
|Moneyline||-110 / -110|
|Time||Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via PointsBet|
We’re down the homestretch of the season, and the seventh-place Mavericks need wins.
A Friday-night showdown at home against the Knicks didn’t prove fruitful, so Dallas will now turn its attention to the Sacramento Kings, who are in no-man’s land in the Western Conference, not quite at the bottom but not close enough to the 10th spot where they’re a real threat to make it.
Can Dallas continue its quest to avoid the play-in tournament that Luka Doncic hates so much? Let’s dig into this matchup and see if we can find some value.
The Kings have struggled to play defense all season, that’s nothing new. What is new is the fact that they now can’t score the basketball. Sacramento sits 26th in Defensive Rating over the past 10 games and 23rd on offense, according to NBA.com.
For months, the Kings were trending towards the worst defensive rating in NBA history, but at least their offense was percolating with Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton drilling 3-point shots. It appears the lack of effort has caught up with this offense and tired it out, and as a result the Kings have fallen on hard times.
Sacramento’s lost nine in a row, and along the way it lost big man Richaun Holmes to a hamstring injury. Holmes is currently day-to-day and Marvin Bagley is still out with a hand injury, so it’s been Hassan Whiteside taking the bulk of the minutes at center.
Losing key members of your frontcourt isn’t exactly the best entering a game against Kristaps Porzingis and a team that’s posted a really solid 74.4% rebounding rate over its last five games.
The only nice thing I can say about the Kings over their nine-game losing streak is that De’Aaron Fox and Hield have looked really good. Fox has averaged 27.3 points over the span, and Hield’s shot 38.8% from 3-point land. Harrison Barnes has also shot almost 50% from the field.
As it’s been all season, though, Sacramento has lacked scoring aside from these three. Holmes had begun to make an impact in that column, but now he’s gone.
The Mavericks are in crunch time right now. With Dallas currently occupying the seventh spot in the Western Conference, it’s in line to enter the league’s spring play-in tournament as the “top” team, though it could always just fall down on its luck and lose two straight to miss the postseason.
Doncic was critical of the format last week, and it’s hard to blame him. Traditionally, the seven seed would be locked in to a best-of-seven series, but it’s now forced to win one of two games to earn a spot in the postseason.
That’s the reality Dallas is facing right now — it’s scratching and clawing for wins, trying to clear the two games needed to overtake the Trail Blazers for six seed.
It didn’t scratch and claw enough on Friday against the Knicks. The Mavs shot just 33% from three and were out-rebounded 45-41. The other disappointment would be the defense, which had made such great strides over the last few weeks but allowed 117 to Julius Randle & Co.
Even with that loss, Dallas still ranks eighth in defensive efficiency over the past 10 games, according to NBA.com. It’s really put the clamps down on some very strong offenses like the Sixers, Grizzlies and Jazz.
The Mavericks will surely be glad to see the Kings, who can’t rebound or score, given those are really the only things holding them back of late. Dallas will be doubly glad because the timing couldn’t be better.
It’s also worth noting that the Mavericks are only three games ahead of the Warriors, who lost in Boston on Saturday night. If Dallas slips into that position, its season will come down to just one game.
It’s been pretty hard to get a read on the Kings all season, but that hasn’t been the case as of late. Sacramento used to surprise you with some big wins and exciting performances, but now that it’s having such a hard time scoring, it’s been easy to rule that out.
Dallas’ defense has been so good lately that I don’t see things changing for the Kings on offense on Sunday. It should be able to get back to dominating on that end, and with all due respect to Whiteside, it should be able to take advantage of a depleted Kings frontcourt to win the rebounding battle.
With all of that said, I have no problem laying eight points here; I’d make this a double-digit spread. The Mavericks will give max effort, and I don’t think you can honestly say the same about the Kings.
Pick: Mavericks -8