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NBA Best Bets Tuesday 11/22

Tonight there is a short NBA slate of only four games, but I have a play for half of them! Unfortunately, last night did not shake out our way with an 0-2 finish, putting me at 0-3 on the last two articles. If you believe in being due, then let’s have a nice little bounce back for you and your friends as people head home for Thanksgiving. If not, then feel free to fade away. Let’s jump right in:

Sacramento Kings -2 (-110) - 1 Unit

I tweeted this play out this morning when Ja Morant was listed as doubtful on the depth chart. Now Woj has come out and said that Morant is likely to return tonight, so you may be able to find this play as a plus-money moneyline depending on your book.

I still am a fan of riding with the Kings tonight even with the return of Ja. It does hurt that one of the most electric players we have seen this past decade will be active tonight, but Ja will be playing a bit hurt which could hinder him. The Grizzlies still have a massive scoring hole with Desmond Bane out, and Jaren Jackson Jr. is ramping back up after being out for a prolonged period of time. They will have to rely heavily on Ja and Dillon Brooks who will either get you 30 points or 0 points off of 20 attempts a night (not actual stats, folks).

The Kings have been one of the surprises in the West with a record of 9-6, but if you paid attention to my season win totals pieces this fall in preparation for the season you would’ve seen this coming. Keegan Murray has not panned out how people assumed he would after an electrifying Summer League, but De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis have been playing at a potential All-Star caliber that has propelled this team forward. Guys like Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk have been solid additions to help with their scoring, and I believe that the Kings arsenal of scoring options will be too much for this banged-up Grizzlies side.

I know there are not as many stats here as you normally would expect from an Andy NBA play, but this is more a gut-check play. Trust your gut here and trust the hot hand in the Kings despite being on the road tonight.

Jaden Ivey o18.5 Points (-113) - 1 Unit

Jaden Ivey and the Pistons travel to Denver tonight to take on the Nuggets who are likely without back-to-back MVP winner Nikola Jokic. Jokic or not, this matchup is favorable for Jaden Ivey who will be the main source of offense for the Pistons tonight with 2021 #1 overall pick Cade Cunningham still injured.

The Nuggets are in the bottom five of the league in defensive efficiency at 1.113, and bottom five in opponent true shooting percentage allowed at 116.9%. It is hard to see this lack of defense in the simple points per game allowed numbers as the Nuggets are in the middle of the pack, but the low possessions per game shows why that number isn’t crazy alarming compared to the more advanced stats above. However, I think this could prove to be favorable for the Pistons' star rookie in Ivey.

I hate pointing to usage rate as one of the indicators as it has become a buzzword in the basketball space where people don’t fully understand it. I will be using it here as one of my points and then can elaborate further. Ivey’s usage rate has jumped up to 28.3% in 6 games without Cade this season, a 7.2% jump from where it was when Cade was healthy. Usage is simply what percentage of a team’s possessions end with the ball in that player's hands, so theoretically if 5 players played all 48 minutes and evenly split handling the ball, then all 5 players would have a 20% usage.

The point of me using a usage rate as my point is that the Pistons are using Jaden Ivey in a big way, which is great for his development, but also great for our points prop here. Ivey is averaging 19.3 points per game in Cade’s absence and has passed this mark in four of the last seven games. The Nuggets have not been the best at defending guards in recent games, and I expect their lack of defense to leave a great opportunity for Ivey to pop off tonight. Let’s go rook!

Carlos Osorio | AP


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