The end of the NBA regular season is an interesting time for teams not in playoff contention. The 19-59 Cleveland Cavaliers and 38-40 Sacramento Kings have guaranteed spots in the lottery this season, but their final few games of the season are not meaningless. They face off in Sacramento today (10pm ET Thursday).
Cleveland is likely to keep its top-three lottery odds, but it is also looking for which players will be valuable building pieces as the franchise moves forward with its 2019 first-round draft pick as the likely centerpiece. The last few games of the season will give the Cavs some valuable information about who those players may be.
The Kings had an excellent season, despite what their record shows. Most pundits expected them to have one of the worst records in the NBA, but they were just eliminated from playoff contention last weekend. Sacramento’s young players stepped up this season, and the franchise will hope for even more strong play from them over the campaign’s last week.
This matchup carries some intrigue. Before getting to our Cleveland Cavaliers vs Sacramento Kings predictions with picks against America’s most trustworthy sports betting websites, we will fully preview this NBA game.
Can Cleveland Assert a Rebounding Advantage Over Sacramento?
The Cavaliers are actually a decent team when they are a force on the boards. With big men like Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Larry Nance Jr. and Ante Zizic, Cleveland actually has some nice glass cleaners on its roster. The Cavs are 11-6 when they grab 51 or more rebounds as a team, but just 8-53 when they corral 50 rebounds or fewer.
Sacramento’s rebounding numbers aren’t bad this season. However, the team does have some younger, slimmer big men on its roster who play big minutes, namely Willie Cauley-Stein and Marvin Bagley Jr. They are both decent rebounders, but they can be outmuscled by opponents at times.
Love, Thompson, Nance and Zizic need to be very physical down low on the glass. If Cleveland can control possession with its rebounding, the Kings will have a hard time being productive on both ends of the floor.
Which Team Will Shut Off the Three-Point Line More Effectively?
Both of these teams are not particularly effective defending the perimeter. Since the All-Star break, both rank in the league’s bottom nine teams in three-point makes allowed per game. The Cavaliers are also third-worst in three-point percentage allowed in that time frame.
In a game where neither team is still in the playoff hunt, both teams’ players will play loose and will feel free to fire up three-point shots when they are available.
The focus then shifts to the defenses. Will they play with purpose and solid fundamentals, running players off the three-point line to force midrange jumpers or difficult drives, or will they just give space to shooters? Both of these teams have solid three-point marksmen who will make opponents pay for playing lazy defense on the perimeter.
Will De’Aaron Fox Play Smart Basketball as a Scorer and Setup Man?
Fox is an electric young point guard for the Kings at 21 years old. His speed and finishing ability are excellent, and his game doesn’t have any major flaws.
One thing he is still working on is balancing his scoring and playmaking as a point guard. He is a solid scorer himself, but the Kings do have other offensive options who deserve shots as key parts of the offense.
Fox attempts 14.9 shots and dishes out 8.6 assists to 2.9 turnovers per 36 minutes in Kings wins. When Sacramento loses, Fox takes 16.1 shots and has 7.8 assists and 3.7 turnovers per 36 minutes. This shows that when Fox is slightly more focused on passing and being smart with the ball, the Kings do better.
The Cavaliers are a dreadful defensive team. It will be important for Fox not to get too caught up in scoring lots of points. A good balance between scoring and passing will be important to the Kings winning by a considerable margin.
Our Preview’s Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Sacramento Kings Betting Picks & Predictions
The Kings will want to prove that they are a solid team that is definitely several notches above the league’s weakest teams, like the Cavs. Meanwhile, the Cavs have a chance to secure a bottom-three record in the league, which would have them tied for the highest lottery odds in June’s NBA draft.
I don’t see either of these teams really digging in on defense since they are out of the playoff hunt, though. That will allow the Kings to play at their preferred fast pace and use their superior athleticism to score a lot of points.
This is how our Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Sacramento Kings predictions for today’s NBA game shape up:
- The Kings are favored by 9.5 points, but I predict a double-digit win for the them. You should bet on the Kings -9.5pts @ -110 with Bovada, Intertops, BetOnline or Bookmaker.
- Oddsmakers are predicting a somewhat high-scoring game here, but I think this game could even surpass those expectations. Bet the over 228.5 total points @ -110 with BetOnline or Bookmaker.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.