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Kings vs. Pelicans Prediction: Winner Gets the Eight Seed

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published April 19, 2024
12 min read

The Sacramento Kings are heading to the Bayou to face the New Orleans Pelicans in the second and final round of the Play-In Tournament and for the rights to the eight seed in the Western Conference Playoffs on Friday night.

The Kings upset the Warriors on Tuesday as the backcourt duo of Keon Ellis and Davion Mitchell outplayed that of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. They’ll be without Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter but just proved they can still win important games even without them.

The Pels were, at one point, a trendy pick to reach the Western Conference Finals. After a spoiled comeback against the Los Angeles Lakers, an injury to Zion Williamson, and uninspiring performances by Brandon Ingram and C.J. McCollum, they now seem to have little hope about them.

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

Kings vs. Pelicans 2024 04 19 Prediction Zion Williamson Domantas Sabonis

Kings vs. Pelicans Betting Odds for Friday, April 19

The Kings went 43-39-1 (52.4 percent) against the spread and 10-7-1 (58.8 percent) ATS as a road favorite. They also covered in seven of their last 10 but in none of their five meetings with the Pels (all losses).

The Pelicans went 44-38-1 (53.7 percent) ATS and 6-5 (54.6 percent) ATS as a home underdog. They covered in just four of their last 13 games and are down their best player.

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Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Sacramento Kings -1.5 (-105) -120 Over 210.5 (-115)
New Orleans Pelicans +1.5 (-115) +100 Under 210.5 (-105)

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Kings vs. Pelicans Prediction

Sacramento Kings Preview

The Kings are not the same team their season metrics portray them to be.

The injuries to Monk and Huerter forced them to focus their attention more on the defensive side, both because of their personnel and out of necessity. Despite ranking 14th in overall defensive efficiency, they jumped to sixth over their last 15 games. Even more impressively, their 108.8 points allowed per 100 possessions during that time would rank second if applied to the entire year.

Sacramento’s offense is only down a couple of points per 100 possessions during that same 15-game stretch, resulting in them having a net rating of +5.0. Interestingly, they attempted even more threes than they did when they were fully healthy and ranked third in attempts (40.7) and fourth in makes (14.6), though their 35.9 percent shooting was below league average.

The team also did a nice job figuring out how to turn defense into offense, ranking fifth in points off turnovers and ninth in transition points over the same 15-game period.

Domantas Sabonis leads the league in rebounds per game, but the team as a whole is just alright on the boards. Keegan Murray typically draws the toughest defensive assignment and will almost assuredly start out as the primary defender on Ingram. 

All eyes will be on the bench in this game. Although they managed to blow out the Warriors by 24 points, they only received 14 points from their second unit. They could have easily lost that game on a night that they didn’t shoot 46.2 percent from three and Murray didn’t go for 32 points.

New Orleans Pelicans Preview

The Pelicans won four straight games before they dropped back-to-back matchups with the Lakers. However, their biggest loss in that game was not on the final scoreboard, but rather it was the hamstring injury that will keep Williamson sidelined on Friday evening.

The Pels went 7-5 without their bruising big man in the lineup. That included a record of 3-3 against winning teams, though they did beat the full-strength Kings by 33 points in one of those meetings.

New Orleans is one of the most balanced teams in basketball. They rank highly in offensive and defensive efficiency, three-point offense and defense, rebound percentage, assist-to-turnover ratio, and practically every other important statistic.

That said, the team’s lack of hierarchy frequently bites it in the behind. Weirdly, Williamson’s absence will clear some of these concerns as Ingram will be “the guy” and McCollum will be free to initiate the offense on the perimeter, assuming both aren’t benched for most or all of the fourth quarter as they were against LA.

The Pelicans went 21-19 in their building, the worst home record of any top-eight seed in either conference. Their home net rating of +3.7 still bested the Kings’ road rating of +1.3, though injuries make these ratings unreflective of their current abilities.

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Kings vs. Pelicans Betting Pick

The Kings were undoubtedly the more impressive of the two teams in the first round of the Play-In. There’s also an argument that their struggles against the Pelicans will only inspire them to a victory since that’s exactly what happened in the Warriors game.

The Pelicans have a better chance of making a deep run in the playoffs but are up against it with Ingram struggling to find his footing since returning from his injury (12 points per game on 47.6 percent shooting in two games).

The Kings’ second unit will be key on both ends. We had optimism in the Pelicans, but we’ll take the visitors to win the matchup.

How to Watch Kings vs. Pelicans

  • When: Friday, April 19 at 8:30/9:30 p.m. CT/ET

  • Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

  • TV: TNT

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

528 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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