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Kings vs. Nuggets Prediction: A First-Round Playoff Preview?

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published February 28, 2024
10 min read

The Sacramento Kings (33-24) are heading to Mile High for a Western Conference battle with the defending champion Denver Nuggets (39-19) on Wednesday night.

The Kings were fifth in the West a couple of days ago but dropped to seventh as the competition for playoff seeding continues to intensify. They went 3-0 against the Nuggets and already beat them twice in February, by 29 at home on Feb. 9 and by four on the road on Feb. 14.

The Nuggets are third in the West and two games out of first place. Although they’re only three games above .500 on the road, they’re a dominant 22-5 at home and won all three of their post-All-Star game matchups by an average of 17 points.

Here, we will go over the betting odds and share our favorite pick for the Kings vs. Nuggets showdown.

Kings vs Nuggets Prediction

Kings vs. Nuggets Betting Odds for Wednesday, Feb. 28

The Kings are 29-27-1 (51.8%) against the spread and 10-6 (62.5%) ATS as a road underdog, though they only covered in three of their last nine games. Their last time on the court, a 121-110 home loss to an injury-depleted Miami Heat, saw them miss the cover by 18.5 points.

The Nuggets are just 25-31-2 (44.6%) ATS, the sixth-worst mark in the league, and 13-13-1 (50%) ATS as a home favorite. They covered in three straight but only seven of their last 18 and zero times against the Kings.

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Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Sacramento Kings +8.5 (-110) +275 Over 229.5 (-105)
Denver Nuggets -8.5 (-110) -350 Under 229.5 (-115)

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Kings vs. Nuggets Prediction

Sacramento Kings Preview

The Kings are a solid team that hasn’t gotten its just due. They’re nine games above .500, have a winning record on the road (17-14), and are yet to taste defeat against a team that made mincemeat of the West during the playoffs last year.

One of Sacramento’s best qualities is its ability to maintain performance on the road. The team has a better net rating (+0.7) on the road than it does at home and is top-10 in road defensive efficiency despite not being much of a defensive-minded outfit.

While the defense has been up for the challenge on the road, the shooting has come and gone. The Kings shot 37.1% from three for the year but just 35.8% on the road (though they’re at 40.2% since the All-Star break).

Sacramento is great at generating points with their constant rim pressure. De’AAron Fox and Malik Monk are both ever-present threats to score or make plays moving downhill, which opens up kick-outs to corner shooters and driving lanes for Domantas Sabonis, who will often fake a dribble hand-off or flow right into a post-up or dive to the rim after the initial setup.

Sabonis has been all over the place recently, recording 40 straight double-doubles and averaging 20.6 points, 14.1 rebounds, and 10.5 assists during February. He also averaged 22 points, 14.2 rebounds, and 6.8 assists in six matchups against Nikola Jokic since he was traded by the Indiana Pacers.

De’Aaron Fox (26.9 points, 5.6 assists, 4.2 rebounds) scored 26 or more points in two of three matchups with Denver and 27+ in five straight games (averaging 31.6 during that span).

Sacramento is solid down the stretch (+7 point differential per 100 possessions - 12th) but pales in comparison to Denver, which recorded higher offense and defensive efficiency in those situations.

Denver Nuggets Preview

The Nuggets are the third-best home team in basketball, judging by net rating (+9.9). On top of having an experienced and talented roster that fits together like a glove, they also have a complete understanding of what they want to do and rank first in assist-to-turnover ratio in their building.

The champs’ defensive improvements are what make them a legitimate threat to win their second straight Larry O’Brien trophy. They give up 111.4 points per 100 possessions in their building, 3.9 fewer than the Kings allow on the road.

Denver never relied on the three-point shot in an era dominated by long-range marksmen, and that held true coming out of the break. They shot just 32.3% from deep while still finding ways to blow out of all of their (lower-tier) opponents.

Jokic has been up to Jokic-like things yet again, averaging 25.4 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 10.7 assists on 57.2% shooting in February. He had a mixed bag of results in three encounters with Sacramento, highlighted by a 36-point, 14-assist, 13-rebound game in December but stained by a 15/8/5 box score on Feb. 14.

Jamal Murray only played one game against Sacramento and went for just 12 points and three assists with six turnovers. He averaged 17.6 points and 6.4 assists in February but hung 27 on the Golden State Warriors his last time on the court. 

The key for Denver will be defending the Kings’ pick-and-roll. They allow the fifth-fewest points per possession when the ball-handler keeps the ball but the fourth-most points per possession when the roll man gets the rock. They also allow the fourth-most points per possession against dribble hand-offs, which could spell trouble.

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Kings vs. Nuggets Betting Pick

Styles make fights, and the Kings have a style of play and assembly of talent that is difficult for the Nuggets to contain.

The advanced numbers and also the raw results show that Sacramento has been up to the task of defeating the defending champs. It’s always risky betting against the Nuggets on their home court, but that’s exactly what we’re going to do here.

Note that Fox is listed as questionable with a knee contusion, and bettors are advised to wait for the team to finalize his status. There could be line movement depending on updates, but we’ll stick with the Kings so long as he plays.

How to Watch Kings vs. Nuggets

  • When: Wednesday, 7:00/9:00 p.m. ET/CT

  • Where: Ball Arena, Denver, CO

  • TV: NBA League Pass

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

480 Articles

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.

In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.

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