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Mar 27th NBA Action: Sacramento Kings @ New Orleans Pelicans


New Orleans -6.5 @ Sacramento Kings

Our Real Plus/Minus-based power ratings framework makes New Orleans about 8 point favorites when the Sacramento Kings visit Smoothie King Center this evening. Embedded in our numbers is the implicit assumption that Anthony Davis will play (the young, rising star Power Forward is currently listed as probable).

The Pelicans have dropped their last four in a row, inlcuding a two-point home loss to Houston just Wednesday. Davis temporarily injured his shoulder in that contest, but did return to action. He ended the night with 24 and 14, on 9-18 from the floor. There is one other instance this season where New Orleans embarked on a four-game skid. A five game win/cover streak followed this prior episode.

Interestingly, each of the Pelicans four recent losses came at the hands of playoff-caliber teams from the (stronger) Western Conference, and three of those defeats happended away from Smoothie King Center. Tonight, in the Sacramento Kings, New Orleans gets a team with no hope of securing a playoff berth (the Kings lag the Thunder by 15 wins for the 8th seed in the West), and the Pelicans have home court advantage.

However, in its second best sequence of the year, Sac has won four straight (covering in three of those contests). The Kings bested this run only once this season, winning five in a row back in October-November. A three game slump ensued immediately thereafter.

Also, consider that Sacramento is a meager 2-8 when cast as 5-8 point underdogs (a range defined by the current spread ± 1.5 points).

Bottom line: If New Orleans is to revive their own hopes of surviving into the post-season, they need to win the next four games (which pit the Pelicans against poor teams). If history is any indication, a decisive win tonight that both marks a the commencement of a late-stage run for the Pelicans and a capitulatory slide for Sacramento does not seem a stretch.

Happy betting!!

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