With the NBA bubble in Orlando quickly drawing close to postseason play, one intriguing matchup on Tuesday’s slate features two teams loaded with young talent. Unfortunately, both of these teams have been removed from postseason contention, so all the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings are playing for at this point is pride.
The trip to Orlando hasn’t been friendly to either the Pelicans or Kings, leaving them as two of the first teams eliminated from postseason contention. Through the first six games, New Orleans posted a 2-4 record, with one of those victories coming against arguably the worst NBA bubble team in the Washington Wizards.
On the other side, the Kings have struggled even more, going 1-5, with their lone win against this same Pelicans team in a high-scoring 140-125 game. Of the other five losses, four of them came by nine or more points, with three by double-digits highlighting Sacramento’s struggles during the recent stretch.
Betting a game between two teams with virtually nothing on the line can often be a tall task, but the good news is that we’ve seen enough of both teams to know how the second units of each have played this year. For the Pelicans, they’ve chosen to essentially rest all of their young core (or at least a handful of big names) while the Kings are in a similar spot.
Here’s a look at the core players already ruled out as of the late Monday night.
Fans may not get to see a Zion vs. Fox matchup on Tuesday, but the potential for a strong betting spot looms thanks to this news.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Sacramento Kings Betting Line & Odds
Betting Line: New Orleans Pelicans (-1 at -110) over Sacramento Kings
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook
It’s not overly surprising to see the Pelicans favored over the Kings here, especially considering Fox, who’s scored 26 or more points in three of the past four games, and four of six bubble matchups will miss this matchup. It is noteworthy that the game is essentially a pick ’em when factoring in that Lonzo Ball, JJ Redick, Derrick Favors, Jaxson Hayes, and Josh Hart weren’t ruled out as of Monday night.
There’s a decent chance that both coaches opt to roll out their young players here, meaning that the likes of Ball, Hayes, Hart, and Nicolo Melli should see major minutes on the New Orleans side. For the Kings, don’t be surprised if Harry Giles gets quite a bit of a run, but the status of Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield will be something to monitor through the early part of the day on Tuesday.
Pelicans vs. Kings Prediction & Pick
The Pelicans and Kings have multiple players worth getting excited about, but I really like the bench for New Orleans and think they’re more than talented enough to top Sacramento in this spot. Even if Ball and Redick join the other sidelined players, the Pelicans have options such as Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Kenrich Williams, and Frank Jackson, who’ll join the rotation in a larger capacity.
I’ll roll with the Pelicans as one-point favorites and would be willing to take them up to -3 or -4 if the line were to move there. The only way I can see that happening is if the Kings rule out Bogdanovic and Hield while Ball and Redick both remain active, which seems somewhat unlikely at this point.
Pick: New Orleans Pelicans -1