Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#565 Sacramento Kings 221 vs.
#566 Utah Jazz -9
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 9:05pm EST
Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#565 Sacramento
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15-26
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The Sacramento Kings will head to Vivint Smart Home Arena on Thursday evening as they prepare for a Western Conference clash against the Utah Jazz.

The Kings just closed a three-game homestand with three straight losses and they will begin a five-game road swing in Utah before heading to Miami on Monday night. The Jazz remain in fourth place in the Western Conference with a 28-13 overall record through 41 games while the Kings sit 4.5-games back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8-seed. Can Utah bounce back with a win at home over the Kings on Saturday night?

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Kings expected to welcome back Bogdanovic

Sacramento lost its third consecutive contest on Wednesday night, falling at home to the Dallas Mavericks 127-123. De’Aaron Fox scored a team-high 27 points and dished out 12 assists while Buddy Hield added 25 in a losing effort for Sacramento. The Kings had no answer for Mavericks’ star Luka Doncic, who finished with 25 points, 15 rebounds, and 17 assists on the night.

The Kings are expected to welcome back shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has been sidelined with an ankle injury. Bogdanovic will likely be on a minutes restriction after being a full participant in Friday’s practice.

The 27-year-old sharpshooter has missed the team’s past six games but has been one of their key contributors off of the bench, scoring 14.5 points on 38.3 percent shooting from 3-point range in just over 28 minutes of action per night. So what’s the significance? Well, the Kings are just 2-9 in games that Bogdanovic has missed this season.

Conley set to return for Jazz

The Jazz snapped a 10-game winning streak on Thursday night with a crushing 138-132 overtime loss against the New Orleans Pelicans. Donovan Mitchell led the way with 46 points while Rudy Gobert finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Jazz in the loss. Gobert had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation after the referees called a foul on an inbound pass with 0.2 seconds left. However, Gobert split the pair to send the game to overtime and fouled out in the extra session.

Over their last 15 games, the Jazz have been the NBA’s best offensive team, scoring a league-leading 118.3 points per 100 possessions during that span. Utah also leads the league in net rating in that timeframe with a +9.6 mark. Their improvements on offense have coincided with the loss of point guard Mike Conley, who has missed the last 14 games with a strained hamstring.

Conley is scheduled to return to the court for Saturday’s game against the Kings. The 32-year-old was expected to catapult the Jazz into contender status in the West, instead, he’s been slow to adjust to his new team. He has struggled in his first season with the Jazz, scoring just 13.6 points per game on a career-low 36.5 percent shooting from the field. According to Andy Larsen of KSL.com, Conley is probable for Saturday’s contest after missing 19 of the last 20 games.

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Utah has been thriving without Mike Conley in the lineup, so it will be interesting to see how the Jazz integrate him after such a lengthy absence. They weren’t exactly scoring the ball efficiently with Conley and Mitchell sharing the floor and the move also likely will send Joe Ingles back to the bench. While the Kings aren’t anything to write home about, they’ve competed hard over their last two games, losing both by a combined six points. Sacramento will be hungry for a win here after closing their homestand with a winless 0-3 record, so expect a spirited effort out of the Kings here. Take Sacramento to cover the spread on the road versus the Jazz on Saturday night.

Prediction: Sacramento Kings +9.5

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The Kings remain futile on the defensive end and that’s persisted over their last 15 games. During that span, they rank 19th in the NBA with a 111.7 defensive rating and they rank 14th in pace. Meanwhile, the Jazz have gotten back to slowing the pace down. During their reign as the NBA’s top offensive team, the Jazz have ranked 27th in the league in pace of play. With a total of 222.5 though, I’m not sure we’re going to get enough possessions in this game to eclipse the total. Look for this game to stay under the projected total on Saturday night.

Prediction: Under 222.5
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.