Here are our three top plays for Tuesday night’s NBA action:
1. Sacramento Kings at Orlando Magic (-5.0)
7:00 pm ET
The Kings will be brimming with confidence after a road win over a solid Miami Heat team on Monday night. Sacramento has been a punchline for awhile, but the Kings are 4-3 this season and there’s nothing funny about the young talent on this roster. While Sacramento isn’t ready to play .500 basketball overall just yet, the Kings do have enough pieces to win games against inferior Eastern Conference competition. Sacramento faces a very beatable Magic team that it has had success against over the years. Since the start of 2017-18, Sacramento has won and covered in three straight games against Orlando. One of those games was at the Amway Center, where the Kings won 105-99 as 7.5-point road underdogs in January 2018. The Magic also happen to be a lousy 9-22 against the spread when playing as a favorite since the start of the 2016-17 season. The Kings match up well here. Orlando has frustrated opponents with its size and length, but Sacramento can counter pretty much anyone in that department. The Kings are massive with Willie Cauley-Stein, Marvin Bagley, Nemanja Bjelica and Harry Giles all playing significant minutes. Those guys are a huge part of the reason the Kings currently have the fifth-best effective field goal percentage in basketball. Sacramento's De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield are coming into their own as a young backcourt. Fox is one of the quickest point guards in basketball and is helping the Kings play with the second-fastest pace in the league thus far. He’ll make sure the Magic are on their toes all night on Tuesday.
Pick: Kings (+5.0)
2. Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder (-2)
8:00 pm ET
Oklahoma City is off to a poor start to the year, but that means bettors can find good value on the team until it rights the ship. The Thunder have a good opportunity to earn their second straight up win of the season tonight and should cover as well. Dating back to March 2016, the Thunder are 7-3 both straight up and against the spread when facing the Clippers. They’re also 8-2 straight up and 7-3 against the spread when hosting the Clippers since May 2014. This matchup is going to be too difficult for Los Angeles. Doc Rivers’s team has played well this season, thanks in part to Tobias Harris. The forward has one of the nicest outside shots in the league and has the size and strength to finish around the basket. It’s a tough combination, but Oklahoma City has the players to cover him. Both Paul George and Jerami Grant are extremely versatile defensively, so they should be able to neutralize Harris. On the other end, the Clippers have nobody to check Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook. The Clippers lack a defensive presence around the rim. Montrezl Harrell is a solid defender, but he won't be able to stop Westbrook's drives to the hoop. And even if Oklahoma City's two-way stud Steven Adams doesn't return from a calf injury in this one, Nerlens Noel has what it takes to fill in. Noel had 20 points and 15 rebounds in the Thunder's last game.
Pick: Thunder (-2)
3. Washington Wizards at Memphis Grizzlies (-2.0)
8:00 pm ET
The Grizzlies aren’t the most reliable team in the league, but there’s definitely some value in fading the Wizards right now. Washington is the more talented team here, but the Wizards are struggling to figure things out on the floor. Entering this game, the team’s defensive efficiency rating is worse than all but five teams in the league. That would be fine if the Wizards were pouring it in on offense, but that isn't the case. Only six teams in the league have a worse offensive efficiency rating than Washington, which is surprising considering the team has a backcourt that consists of John Wall and Bradley Beal. Things aren’t likely to improve tonight. The Grizzlies are currently fourth in the league in defensive efficiency rating, and Mike Conley is a big part of that. The veteran is one of the best two-way players in basketball and plays with intensity every night. He’ll make things very difficult on Wall here. Big man Marc Gasol will also be a challenge for Washington. Gasol isn’t getting any younger, but his defensive efficiency rating is the best of his career, and offensively he’s one of the best bigs the game has to offer. It’s also worth noting that Memphis has covered in three straight at home against Washington.
Pick: Grizzlies (-2.0)
Overall Record: 13-15-2