Kings host Warriors in first playoff game since 2006

Kings host Warriors in first playoff game since 2006

Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors

Line: Sacramento -1

Total: 237.5

Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California

When: Saturday, 4/15 at 8:30 p.m. ET

TV: ABC

The defending NBA champions will open their 2023 postseason run when No. 6 seed Golden State travels to No. 3 seed Sacramento for Game 1 on Saturday night.

Golden State won eight of its final 10 games of the regular season to avoid the Western Conference play-in tournament. Sacramento lost four of its final five games, but it is thrilled to be in the playoffs for the first time since 2006. The Kings also won the Pacific Division title for the first time since the 2002-03 season.

These teams met three times before Nov. 15 this season, with Golden State winning two of those games and Sacramento covering the spread in all three of them. Their final matchup of the regular season came on April 7 when Golden State won and covered as an 11-point favorite, but Sacramento rested its key players in that game.

Oddsmakers opened Sacramento as a 1-point favorite before the early betting action shifted the line to a pick ’em. The number moved back to -1 late Friday. Tonight’s total opened at 238.5 points, but it’s now down to 237.5

Golden State will need to solve its road struggles after sputtering to the fourth-worst road record in the NBA (11-30) this season. The Warriors have won at least one road game in all 27 of their playoff series with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on the floor, though.

They allowed 118.3 points per 100 possessions on the road this season, while giving up just 108.4 at home. Andrew Wiggins is expected to play 20-25 minutes off the bench in Game 1 after dealing with personal issues down the stretch of the regular season. The Warriors’ offensive rating was 12 points (per 100 possessions) better with him on the floor last year, and he was shooting a career-high 40% from 3-point range before leaving the team.

Golden State’s second-ranked offense (118.9 points per game) needs all the help it can get against Sacramento’s top-ranked offense (120.7). The Kings finished with the highest offensive rating in the history of the NBA, but their defense was No. 25 in points allowed per game (118.1).

Star point guard De’Aaron Fox leads Sacramento with 25.0 points, 6.1 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game, while center Domantas Sabonis is averaging 19.1 points, 12.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists. They are facing a Golden State defense that is No. 21 (117.1).

Curry has put together another impressive campaign, averaging 29.4 points, 6.3 assists and 6.1 rebounds. He is joined by a pair of other elite scorers in Klay Thompson (21.9) and Jordan Poole (20.4). The Warriors have won eight of the last nine meetings between these teams, but they have only covered the spread three times in their last 16 road games.

Sacramento is 1-6 against the spread in its last seven home games and has gone ‘under’ in four of its last five games. The Kings and Warriors have cashed the ‘under’ in six of their last nine head-to-head meetings.  

The pick: Sacramento -1

The Warriors are getting credit in the betting market for their recent postseason success, but they have only covered the spread three times in their last 16 road games. They are going into what will be the loudest postseason environment so far this season, as Sacramento’s fan base is amped up for their postseason return. The Kings have the highest-rated offense in NBA history, so they are built to outscore a team like Golden State. Neither team has been good on the defensive end, giving another edge to the home team in a matchup between high-scoring teams. Sacramento had covered in four out of five games before resting its starters for the final two games of the campaign.

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