- Both Sacramento and Brooklyn have been on fire as of late, and they'll meet at Barclays Center on Monday afternoon.
Here are Three at 3's top plays.
1. Sacramento Kings at Brooklyn Nets (-3.5)
3:30 pm ET
Monday afternoon's tilt in Brooklyn will feature two teams riding high on the tails of exciting weekend victories. Sacramento won 103-101 in Detroit on Saturday (SAC +1.5), with Buddy Hield capping off a 35-point scoring night with a game-winning three-pointer. The Nets, meanwhile, won 117-115 in Orlando on Friday (BKN +2), overcoming a 21-point deficit thanks in no small part to a career-high 40 points from D'Angelo Russell. Both the Kings and Nets are teams on the rise, making this sneakily one of the best matchups on the MLK Day slate.
Despite having a 27-18-1 record against the spread this season, the Kings are only 1-6 ATS in road games with a total set at 230 or higher. The Nets, meanwhile, are 12-6 ATS in games with the line set between +3 and -3 (13-5 straight up), and 10-3 ATS when playing only their second game in a five-day stretch. Over the last five seasons, home teams coming off a cover are 93-41 ATS in games between two teams with winning percentages between .510 and .600. With Sacramento in the midst of its longest road trip of the season, a better-rested Brooklyn team holds the edge in this contest between two evenly matched rosters.
Pick: Nets -3.5
2. Kings at Nets (Total: 230)
The Kings have seen the over hit at a higher rate in their games (27-19) than all other teams in the NBA but Boston this season. That's due in part to a ball-pushing mentality led by speedy second-year point guard De'Aaron Fox, which has resulted in the Kings playing at the second-fastest pace in the league (104.27). The Nets have played at a below-average pace on the year as a whole (100.01, 19th), but have picked up their speed considerably over the past couple weeks: They're seventh in pace of any NBA team over its last 10 games (102.43). The over is 9-1 this year when Sacramento is playing a team with a winning record on the road, and these two young, exciting teams should come out ready to run for an afternoon game on a holiday.
Pick: Over 230
3. Houston Rockets at Philadelphia 76ers (-4)
As much offensive brilliance as the recent James Harden explosion has given us, it hasn't offered much in the way of defense: The Rockets are 28th in the league in defensive rating of any team in January, posting a 115.8 DEFRTG this month. They're gotten especially permissive defensively in their last two contests, giving up 145 points to Brooklyn and 134 points to the Lakers. (Both games went into overtime, but Houston allowed 125.5 PPG in regulation across the two.)
That lackluster defense will be a problem against the 76ers, who in the new calendar year have been even more on fire offensively (57.7 EFG%, 61.3 TS%, both second in the league) than Harden and Houston have (55.3 EFG%, 60.4 TS%, both fifth). Meanwhile, the Sixers remain a top-10 defensive team league-wide, and have more than one player that will consider stopping Harden to be a personal challenge. And while Houston's rash of injuries is well-documented and has only marginally slowed the team to this point, the absence of Clint Capela figures to be especially detrimental with Joel Embiid on the floor for Philly. A trend to wrap it all up: Over the last five seasons, road underdogs of 3.5 to 9.5 points playing their second game in five days are only 36-66 against the spread in January games.
Pick: 76ers -4
Overall Record: 104-91-4