Nuggets Plan To Stifle Kings With NBA's Top Defense

Sacramento has been on quite the run ATS in November, but Denver's been dominant all season long

Keith Allison, Flickr

Nuggets (13-3) at Kings (7-10)

DEN -4, O/U 206.5, Saturday November 30th, 5:05pm EST

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  • The Sacramento Kings (7-10) are coming off a 97-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday and have lost three of their last four games. 

  • Although the Kings have gone 7-5 SU in the month of November, they’ve gone an amazing 11-1 ATS in that span.

  • The Denver Nuggets (13-3) are on a six-game winning streak, but have gone 7-7 ATS this season. They’re coming off a 117-104 victory over the Washington Wizards.

  • Denver opened as a four-point road favorite and the over/under opened at 206.5. The over has gone just 4-12 in Nuggets games and 5-12 in Kings games so far this year. 

  • BetQL’s NBA Model lists best bets ATS, on the moneyline and on the total in this matchup. Find out what they are

Nuggets 

When describing the Nuggets, one word that comes to mind is “deep”. While starters Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap, Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Will Barton are a talented bunch, being able to bring Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Monte Morris, Malik Beasley, Torrey Craig, Michael Porter Jr. and Juan Hernangomez off the bench is a luxury for coach Mike Malone. Eleven different Nuggets average double-digit minutes and Murray leads the team with 32.9 per game, which is indicative of the team’s overall depth. Malone’s ability to mix and match and ride the hot hand has also been a factor of his team’s 13-3 start. 

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Jokic has not quite lived up to the standard he established last season, but is still averaging an elite 16.1 points, 10.4 rebonds and 6.0 assists per contest. Meanwhile, Murray leads the team with 18.8 points per contest, but has not established himself the team’s go-to scorer due to his general inconsistency. As mentioned above, the team has numerous options to pick up the slack if Murray doesn’t get it going on any particular night, which doesn’t require him to be “the guy”. Interestingly, Denver ranks 22nd in the NBA in field goal percentage (44.9) and 17th in three-point percentage (35.3), but has taken care of the rock, averaging 26.1 assists per game (6th) and 13.9 assists (7th). Defensively, they’ve held their opponents to a 43.1 field goal percentage (4th-best), 31.3 three-point field goal percentage (2nd) and rank 6th in defensive rebounding percentage (74.7). Overall, the Nuggets are the best defensive team in the NBA, per their top-ranked defensive rating.

Kings 

Unfortunately, the Kings will continue to be without De’Aaron Fox (ankle) and Marvin Bagley Jr. (thumb) in this contest. Without those two crucial pieces of their young core, Sacramento has stayed alive and gone 4-4 SU in their last eight games as Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes, Richaun Holmes and Nemanja Bjelica have all stepped up in their expanded roles. All of the aforementioned players average double-digit points and have given coach Luke Walton quality minutes.

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Like Murray, Hield is either off or on every time out (and rarely in between). He averages a game-high 20.5 points per game heading into this contest while Barnes (15.9) and Bogdanovic (15.3) have also been reliable sources of buckets. The Kings rank 21st in field goal percentage (44.9 - just ahead of the Nuggets), 12th in three-point percentage (36.3), 23rd in assists (22.8), 21st in turnovers (15.9) while they’ve struggled defensively, allowing their opponents to shoot 47.3 percent from the field (24th). Sacramento also ranks 19th in defensive rating, slightly below the league average. All of these numbers will likely change once Fox and Bagley return and begin to log starter’s minutes once again, but that’s the current situation to take note of.

Prediction

It’s worth noting that these two teams play slow. Veeeeeeery slow. In fact, the Kings rank 28th in pace while the Nuggets rank dead-last. That has led to the under going just 24-9 so far in their combined games. The over/under in this contest opened at just 206.5, which is low for an NBA game nowadays. BetQL’s NBA Model lists best bets ATS, on the moneyline and on the total in this matchup. Does the algorithm think the Kings will continue their streaky play ATS? Find that out