Golden State @ Sacramento
Golden State -2½ -104 over Sacramento

Posted at 10:45 AM EST. Odds subject to change.

Pinnacle -2½ -104 BET365 -2 -110 Sportsinteraction -2½ -105 888Sport -2½ -110

Golden State -2½ over Sacramento

Best Odds: -104 at Pinnacle

10:10 PM EST. Tonight will mark the fifth time the Warriors and Kings meet this season, but we can't really take too much from any of their previous matchups. Three of their 2023-24 contests were back in mid-Fall, which means they were a solid 5+ months ago, and the last battle on January 25th was a one-point win for Sacramento, one week after Golden State's assistant coach died. Fast forward three months and we have two teams who are going in entirely different directions, which is the biggest reason why the Warriors' line has moved in their favor.

The Sacramento Kings haven't looked good in the final weeks of the regular season, and there's one obvious reason why. Malik Monk incurred an MCL sprain just one-minute into the Kings' matchup against the Mavericks on March 29th, and his team has certainly felt his absence. Since then they're just 4-6 straight up, three wins against bottom-tier teams who didn't come close to making the playoffs and one victory against the Clippers when the Clippers were in a funk. Statistically they still qualify as a top-10 offense the last 2 weeks, data that's inflated somewhat by their success against weaker opponents, but versus good defenses we saw a Kings' squad that couldn't quite keep up.

With Monk out, DeAaron Fox's role has become even larger, averaging nearly 38 minutes per game in April. It's no surprise that games where he played the most minutes and scored the most points came against top-tier programs, and it exclusively resulted in losses for his team. Without Monk, Sacramento's second-unit is without a stalwart scorer and their first-unit loses another spark plug, a high-energy guy that can swing a contest in Sacramento's favor because of how explosive he is on offense. They also lost a guy who frequently took attention away from Fox, their star, a combo that typically overwhelms opposing defenses. There's a reason Monk has been the favorite to win the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year.

Sacramento's defense hasn't let them down, rated 5th in their final 10 games, but their lack of offensive firepower will be a huge issue tonight. Golden State has been on fire to wrap up the season, winning 10 of their last 12 contests, and their offense is finally starting to hum. Building up their role players and second unit all season, the Warriors are deeper and more talented than last year at this juncture, but their success still runs through Steph Curry. Curry had a rough March, for reasons unknown (he looked like he might've been battling through an injury), but he found his footing in April. His marks are back to what we expect from the future first ballot Hall of Famer - 47% from three point land, 25 ppg - and his teammates have followed suit. Rated #7 among all NBA teams in net rating and top-10 defensively to boot, Golden State has outscored opponents by an average margin of +9 in their final 12 affairs, an average score of 114-105 per game.

Momentum plays a big part in the play-in tournament. The Sacramento Kings are at home, which is a big advantage in an elimination game, but we've seen this story before. The Kings rose to new levels last season, finishing as the #3 seed in the West before battling the Warriors in the first round of the 2023 playoffs. Sacramento admirably turned that into a 7-game series, but in game 7 it was clear who the more poised and more experienced team was. After a close 58-56 first half where the home-team led at the break, the Warriors went on to obliterate the Kings 64-42 in the final two quarters. Steph Curry dropped 50 points. If the Kings were in the same form as last season with another shot at taking out Golden State, we may be taking their side. But without Malik Monk, the Dubs have too many ways to win this game, and we see them spoiling the home-team's party again.

Farley

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Our Pick

Golden State -2½ -104 (Risking 2.08 units - To Win: 2.00)

Dallas/Minnesota under 207 +102