The boring yet aptly named NBA In-Season Tournament enters its single-elimination knockout stage tonight. And while the name is bad, the action has been the opposite and that should continue in tonight’s quarterfinal matchup between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings.
This matchup is full of star power as Zion Williamson and De’Aaron Fox will try to punch their respective team’s tickets to the semifinals in Las Vegas this weekend. It’s Fox and the Kings who are favored to do so, laying four points at home, according to the NBA odds.
Can the Kings continue their home dominance, or is there a better bet to be made in Sacramento tonight?
I break down this NBA In-Season quarterfinals matchup and bring you my best bet in my NBA picks for Pelicans vs. Kings on Monday, December 4.
Pelicans vs Kings odds
Pelicans vs Kings predictions
The Sacramento Kings earned the right to play this quarterfinal at home thanks to going 4-0 in group play thanks in large part to the play of De’Aaron Fox who has averaged 36 points, 8.7 assists, and 8.0 rebounds per game and is among the favorites when it comes to the NBA In-Season Tournament MVP odds.
Meanwhile, the New Orleans Pelicans finished group play at 3-1 and should pose an interesting challenge. Particularly, now that CJ McCollum has returned to action. But more than that, I expect the Pelicans to try and out physical the Kings in this game.
That has me looking at a Jonas Valanciunas player prop for this matchup.
The veteran center is having another productive season for the Pelicans. JV is averaging 14 points on 56.4% from the field while adding 9.0 rebounds per game. And I expect him to be a handful for Domantas Sabonis the Kings tonight.
Even though Sabonis gets his stats, the Kings are not a great team when it comes to cleaning the glass. Sacramento ranks 21st in the NBA when it comes to rebounding rate and next to last in opponent defensive rebounds per game.
They also have issues when it comes to limiting teams from scoring in the interior, ranking 20th in opponent points in the paint per game.
And that has played out on the court when these two bigs have faced off. Valanciunas has averaged 14.6 points and 11 rebounds per game in 12 career matchups against Sabonis.
JV has recorded nine double-doubles this season, and not surprisingly, two of those have come against the Kings. At plus money like this, I’m betting he makes it three for three.
My best bet: Jonas Valanciunas double-double — Yes (+135 at bet365)
Pelicans vs Kings same-game parlay
Jonas Valanciunas double-double — Yes
Harrison Barnes Over 3.5 rebounds
Kevin Huerter Over 2.5 made threes
JV won’t be the only one to put up some good numbers on the glass.
The Pelicans are an interesting defensive team. They also could improve on the boards despite some big bodies. They rank 19th in both rebounding rate and opponent defensive rebounds per game. Now, Sabonis has some elevated rebounding numbers so let’s look to his teammate Harrison Barnes. The veteran wing averages just 3.2 boards per game this season but that is up to 3.9 over his last seven games. His rebounding total is set at 3.5, a number he has eclipsed in five of his last seven.
The Pels also allow the most 3-point attempts per game to opposing teams. And even though they allow the third-lowest opponent 3-point shooting percentage, they rank 17th in opponent effective field goal percentage. This tells me if you’re going to keep giving teams that many looks from deep, they are going to start hitting a few more.
So, in that vein, let’s close this SGP out with Kevin Huerter to go Over 2.5 made threes. Huerter is still an elite shooter hitting 38.6% of his 3-pointers and has hit three or more in eight of his last 12 games.
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Pelicans vs Kings spread and Over/Under analysis
The Kings opened this NBA In-Season Tournament quarterfinal matchup against the Pelicans as 4-point home chalk. The Pels have seen the early action with the line moving down to 3.5.
The Kings have the better overall record and have been solid at home, going 6-2 straight up. But the Pelicans have had the Kings’ number this season, winning a pair of consecutive games played in New Orleans back in November. The Pels defense, which ranks 13th in defensive rating, was suffocating in those games, limiting the Kings to just 41.5% shooting over those two games.
This has been a tough matchup for the Kings this season, and I would lean toward taking the points with the underdog Pelicans.
When it comes to the total it hit the board at 233 and has been bet up to 237.5 as of Monday afternoon. The two previous meetings had closing totals of 237.5 and 235.5 and both fell well below the total. The Pelicans defense can do enough to keep this below this high number once again. I would lean toward the Under.
Pelicans vs Kings betting trend to know
The Pelicans have played to the Under in six of their last eight games overall. Find more NBA betting trends for Pelicans vs. Kings.
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Pelicans vs Kings game info
|Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
|Monday, December 4, 2023
|10:00 p.m. ET
Pelicans vs Kings latest injuries
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