NBA Play-In Tournament: Warriors vs Kings Prediction, Odds, Pick (Tuesday, April 16)

NBA Play-In Tournament: Warriors vs Kings Prediction, Odds, Pick (Tuesday, April 16) article feature image

Warriors vs. Kings Odds

Tuesday, April 16
10 p.m.
Warriors Odds
-110o / -110u
Kings Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about Warriors vs. Kings on Tuesday, April 16 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today's game.

The Golden State Warriors are back in Sacramento after defeating the Kings in the first round of the postseason last year. This time, they'll meet in a single-elimination matchup for a chance to advance out of the playoff play-in tournament.

Both teams finished the season with identical 46-36 records. They also split the season series, but the Kings managed to secure the ninth seed, edging out the Warriors, thanks to a tiebreaker based on their better divisional record.

However, these teams were on very different paths to finish the regular season, which might provide the biggest clue to picking a winner in this matchup.

Golden State Warriors

It's almost hard to fathom that Golden State was just 18-22 in mid-January following a 116-107 road loss to Memphis on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Warriors then didn't play another game for nine days as the team mourned the untimely passing of their assistant coach, Dejan Milojevic, due to a heart attack.

When Golden State finally returned to the court in a home game against the Hawks, head coach Steve Kerr told his team to use basketball as their form of catharsis—to essentially "get lost" in the game.

The Warriors would dominate the Hawks in a 134-112 victory, going 15-6 over a 21-game stretch. Golden State finished the campaign on a 27-12 run, winning eight of its last ten games.

Thus, the Warriors didn't just let themselves "get lost" in the game against the Hawks. They might've allowed themselves to "get lost" in the rest of their season.

The Warriors' most significant improvement has been on the defensive end of the floor. Through the first 40 games of the season, they ranked 24th in efficiency, allowing 117.7 points per 100 possessions.

Since then, Golden State is up to eighth defensively with a 111.4 rating.

While the Kings received plenty of praise last season for having the best offense in the league, recent injuries to key players have completely changed the team's makeup.

Sacramento Kings

Sacramento's 48 wins last year was its most in 18 seasons. It also snapped a string of 16 straight losing seasons for the Kings organization.

Yet, even with homecourt advantage in the first round against the Warriors and with a 2-0 lead, the Kings still folded, losing four of the next five games in the series.

While there were some positives for the Kings to take into this season, it certainly didn't look like it from the onset.

Sacramento got off to a 2-4 start, which was perhaps an improvement after losing its first four games in the previous campaign.

Nonetheless, there were signs that the Kings were processing in the right direction as they went 9-6 against the top four teams in the Western Conference (Thunder, Nuggets, Timberwolves and Clippers).

At one point, the Kings were 13 games over .500 (42-29) and looked like a lock to finish in the top six. However, injuries to starting shooting guard Kevin Huerter and Sixth Man of the Year contender Malik Monk began to take a toll on the team.

Sacramento finished just 4-7 the rest of the way, dropping to ninth in the conference.

The Kings have been a feast-or-famine team lately, with their last four wins coming by double digits and an average margin of 26 points.

Given their recent form, it's unlikely we'll get that kind of a result against this improved Warriors defense.

Warriors vs. Kings

Betting Pick & Prediction

One thing the Warriors have done well this season is winning games on the road. Golden State's 4.2 net rating away from home is the fourth-best mark in the league.

Couple that with the Warriors' ability to win two games in Sacramento during the playoffs last year when it mattered most, and you have a team that looks poised to advance to the next round of the play-in tournament.

According to Kerr, the Warriors liken this part of the year to the postseason in college basketball. "Now, obviously, it's (the) NCAA Tournament," Kerr said. " We've got to get out of the first weekend here, win the first two, and get to the first round."

That's the right approach if you're a head coach trying to focus his players on the task at hand.

Last season, we saw the Warriors' experience prove to be the difference, and now they'll face a more depleted Kings team.

There are two things to note for this play-in game:

  • Short favorites of four or fewer points are a perfect 6-0 against the spread.
  • When teams with a worse seed are the favorite, they're 2-0 against the spread.

Both angles are live in this matchup, and given how the Warriors closed the season, they look to be the better side.

Pick: Warriors -2.5

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Doug Ziefel
May 22, 2024 UTC