Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#533 Sacramento Kings 225.5 vs.
#534 Minnesota Timberwolves -3
Monday, January 27, 2020 at 8:05pm EST
Target Center, Minneapolis
Written by Chris Kubala

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W/L
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#533 Sacramento
#534 Minnesota
16-29
15-31
21-24
17-27-2
22-23
25-21
106
111
109
114

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A pair of Western Conference teams on the outside looking in at the playoff picture take the floor in the Twin Cities. The Sacramento Kings are on the road as they travel to face the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday night. Sacramento defeated Chicago 98-81 on the road Friday night in their last contest. Minnesota was defeated 113-104 at home by Oklahoma City in their previous game on Saturday night. The Timberwolves own a 60-55 lead in the all-time regular season series between the teams and have won the last three meetings, including a 105-104 double overtime win on the road in the first meeting this season on December 26, 2019.

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Sacramento Kings Look for Back to Back Wins

Sacramento snapped a six-game losing skid as they knocked off the Bulls on the road Friday night. The Kings entered Sunday fourth in the Pacific Division, 19.5 games behind the Lakers for the top spot. In the Western Conference playoff picture, Sacramento stood 13th, five games behind the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot. The Kings led by eight after the opening quarter and by 10 at the half only to see Chicago come back. Sacramento trailed by one with 2:20 to play in the third quarter but used an 8-0 run over the next three minutes to take a seven-point edge. The Kings didn’t see their lead drop below five the rest of the way. Sacramento shot 43.2 percent from the field, including 10 of 32 from three-point range, and limited Chicago to 39.2 percent shooting. Buddy Hield, who was pulled from the starting lineup in place of Bogdan Bogdanovic, led the way with 21 points off the bench in the win.

The Kings enter this contest 24th in the league in scoring offense as they put up an average of 106.6 points per game this season. Sacramento is 27th in rebounding with 42.5 boards per game and 22nd in assists by dishing out 22.8 dimes per contest. The Kings are 15th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 109.8 points a night this season. De’Aaron Fox is second on Sacramento with 19.1 points plus 7.1 assists a night on the season. Buddy Hield contributes a team-high 20 points a game while Harrison Barnes (15.1 points, 4.9 boards) and Richaun Holmes (13.1 points, 8.5 rebounds) are contributing offensively this season. Nemanja Bjelica (12.4 points), Bogdan Bogdanovic (14.4 points), Cory Joseph, Dewayne Dedmon and the recently acquired duo of Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver need to put more points on the board to help the team. Marvin Bagley III (14.2 points, 7.5 boards) suffered a fractured thumb in the opener and returned December 11 after missing 22 games. Sacramento is tied for 17h in the league in field goal percentage as they hit 45.4 percent from the floor this season. The Kings are 14th in threes per game as they splash 12 triples a night while they are tied for 18th in three-point shooting by connecting on 35.2 percent from beyond the arc. Sacramento traded Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan to Portland for Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and a pair of second-round picks on January 18. Bagley III missed Friday’s game against the Bulls with a foot injury and is questionable here. Holmes has been out since January 6 with a shoulder injury and is expected to miss another two to three weeks.

Minnesota Timberwolves Hoping to Get Back in Win Column

Minnesota suffered their ninth straight loss as they fell short in the second game of a back to back by falling to Oklahoma City at home. The Timberwolves entered Sunday in the basement of the Northwest Division, 17.5 games behind the Jazz. In the Western Conference playoff picture, Minnesota stood 14th in the standings, 6.5 games behind the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot. The Timberwolves trailed by six after the opening quarter and by four at the half before getting outscored 39-24 in the third quarter to put themselves in a hole. Minnesota got within five with 1:07 to play but that was as close as they would get. The Timberwolves shot 44.4 percent from the field, including 12 of 43 from three-point range, and allowed Oklahoma City to shoot 48.8 percent in the game. Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota with 37 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the win.

The Timberwolves enter this one 15th in the league in scoring offense as they average 111.2 points per game this season. Minnesota is seventh in the league in rebounding as they collect 46.1 boards per contest and 20th as they dish out 23.3 assists per game. The Timberwolves are 26th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 114.9 points per contest. Karl-Anthony Towns is leading the team with 27 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Andrew Wiggins contributes 22.6 points a night while Robert Covington (12.5 points), Jake Layman (10.5 points) and Shabazz Napier (9.4 points) are solid scoring options as well. Shabazz Napier, Allen Crabbe, Jarrett Culver and Gorgui Dieng are other guys that need to contribute. Minnesota is tied for 27th in field goal percentage as they shoot 43.4 percent from the floor this season. The Timberwolves are tied for 7th by knocking down 12.8 threes per game while the team is 29th by shooting only 32.4 percent from beyond the arc as a team this season. Layman (toe) remains without a firm timetable, making him likely missing for this contest. He has returned to shooting at practice but hasn’t played since November 18. Crabbe sustained a knee injury against the Thunder January 25 and his status is cloudy here.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Minnesota is struggling right now with nine straight losses as the team continues their freefall toward the bottom of the Western Conference. The Timberwolves have Towns back but the fact remains that they continue to have issues on the defensive end of the floor. Sacramento managed to snap a six-game losing skid by shutting down the Bulls as Hield’s move to the bench, at least for one night, paid dividends. The Kings should be able to take advantage of Minnesota’s porous defense, especially with the Timberwolves playing their third game in four nights. Give Sacramento the upper hand in this contest.

Prediction: Sacramento Kings +3

Full-Game Total Pick

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This is a matchup of teams that are polar opposites when it comes to tempo this season. Minnesota is seventh in the league in pace with an average of 102.5 possessions per game on the year. Sacramento, meanwhile, despite being run through the speedy Fox, is 28th in the league with 97.9 possessions a night. The Timberwolves continue to struggle at stopping the opposition, mainly due to their breakneck pace. Minnesota is 26th in scoring defense despite being in the middle of the pack in field goal percentage defense (46.4 percent, 19th) and three-point field goal percentage defense (18th at 35.4 percent) this season. Sacramento isn't a terrific offensive team and, coupled with their slower pace, keeps this one under the total.

Prediction: Under 225.5

Half-Time Side Pick

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Sacramento comes into this game tied for 25th in the league in first half scoring offense with an average of 52.6 points per game this season. That number does climb to 53.6 ppg on the road this season. The Kings come into the game 23rd in the league in first half scoring differential with a -1.8 ppg scoring margin. That number does climb to -1.5 ppg on the road, so there is a little improvement. Minnesota is 11th in scoring offense in the opening half with 56.2 ppg but it ticks down to 55.7 ppg at home. The Timberwolves are 19th in the league in first half scoring differential with a -0.7 ppg scoring margin. That number doesn't shift in home/road splits. With the fatigue factor in play for Minnesota, you have to give the edge to the Kings at the half.

Prediction: Sacramento Kings

Half-Time Total Bet

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Sacramento is decent on the defensive end of the floor, ranking tied for 12th by allowing 54.5 points per game on the year. The Kings give up an average of 55.1 ppg on the road this year. Their average first half sees an average of 107.1 ppg this season. Minnesota stands 21st in the league in scoring defense in the opening half by allowing 56.9 ppg this season. The Timberwolves do tick down to 56.4 ppg at home this year. Their average first half sees the teams combine for 113.1 ppg on the year. This one ends up falling short of the total at the half as the Kings try to grind the Timberwolves into submission.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.