Hello, dear readers! Welcome to the NBA version of our Best Bets column. This is where SIA takes a few moments to highlight five upcoming, intriguing bets from around the league. Let’s commence.
Don’t forget to check out our NBA odds page for plenty fo basketball action.
Offence Worthy of Kings
Few would have predicted the Sacramento Kings to possess the highest scoring offence in the league. As of Wednesday, Jan. 18 (prior to the Lakers game), Mike Brown has his unit bouldering over opposing defences, netting 120.0 points per game. Their 49.3 per cent field goal shooting alone is praiseworthy. Given their ranking in 17th for shot attempts per game, that’s remarkable efficiency. So why should you be worried?
The upcoming schedule doesn’t bode well. For starters, the Kings have been cruising against poor defensive units lately, such as the Rockets, Spurs, and Lakers. After playing the latter again on Wednesday night, and then Oklahoma City on Friday, back-to-back dates with the 76ers, Grizzlies, and Raptors await. Concerning points conceded per contest, each side is ranked fourth, eighth, and ninth respectively. As brilliant as Sacramento has been, it may be time to consider the Under very soon.
NBA 22/23 - Regular Season Wins - Sacramento Kings
Warriors as Good as Gold
Keeping with the Over-Under talk, Golden State is an interesting squad to study these days. The team is finally finding its wings when playing away from San Francisco, even though they lost their last three home games, dulling the remarkable home-court advantage they held for so long. What makes them an interesting proposition are both good and bad statistics.
Consider that for all the woes they’ve experienced, especially injuries to players like Stephen Curry, the Warriors rank fifth league-wide in points scored per game (117.6). On the flip side, they sport one of the worst defences in the NBA. The 117.9 they concede per tilt is only good for 26th place. In essence, they participate in high-flying affairs, making Over propositions very encouraging. Look no further than Thursday night in Boston, as the Celtics feature the second-best attack in the NBA. However, the very next night, they face the Cavaliers, the number one defence.
NBA 22/23 - Regular Season - Player - Points Per Game Leader
Joel Embiid is in the conversation for Most Valuable Players honours, provided he doesn’t miss more games through injury (an unfortunate, recurring issue with him). Nikola Jokic is vying for a third in a row, and Luka Doncic is putting on a masterclass of a season, but Embiid is not far behind. His 33.6 points per game is good for second in the NBA. Furthermore, as a center, he’s putting up those numbers without resorting to bombing away from three-point land. Efficient jump shooting and bulldozing his way in the paint are what’s led to those stats. In fact, he’s on a run of six consecutive outings during which he’s scored at least 30 points.
Just in the nick of time come the Portland Trailblazers and Sacramento Kings on the schedule (Thursday and Saturday). The former gives up an average field goal percentage of 47.8, good for 18th in the NBA, not to mention that they dress one of the smaller lineups in the league. As for Sacramento, they have the 24th-ranked defence in points conceded per tilt. Embiid’s 30-point streak could very well continue.
NBA 22/23 - Awards - Most Valuable Player (reg. season)
Bucks Overcoming the Spread
With Giannis Antetokounmpo sitting out the last few games for Milwaukee (and as of Jan. 18 still listed as Out) some interesting data has come to light. A two-game series in Miami didn’t go down well as far as results, but at least one of those contests resulted in a push despite the Bucks’ status as underdogs. Then the team took care of both the Pacers and the Raptors.
Milwaukee has at least covered or played to a push in seven of their last nine contests. They play Cleveland on Saturday, a team sporting the NBA’s best defence, but the Bucks are themselves ranked sixth. Furthermore, a meeting with the Nuggets is sandwiched between dates with the Pistons and Pacers. The Bucks, even without Giannis, can definitely keep on covering most of their spreads over that stretch.
Trae Young’s Helping Hand
When people discuss Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young, it’s most often inspired by his impressive skills with the ball. Granted, when he’s in the mood, he can light up a crowd and an opposing defence. His 27.4 points per game are nothing to sneeze at. But he’s just as if not more impressive in another key statistical category: assists.
His 9.8 helpers per outing have him tied for second in the NBA along with two-time MVP Nikola Jokic. As such, it’s interesting to ponder how many more times in the coming days he can keep that pace up, especially since his Hawks are relatively healthy, with no serious injuries to speak of. The next two outings might be tough. Dallas (Wednesday night) and New York are ranked 10th and 11th in defence against assists. After those two come the Hornets and Bulls, who are not only bottom-half squads as far as points allowed per contest but are literally the two worst teams in the NBA in preventing assists.