November 25, 2015 (5:40 PM ET)
Two football picks have been released a day in advance, for Thursday!
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Take Milwaukee Bucks at -4 spread against Sacramento Kings for 3% of the bankroll.
DeMarcus Cousins is officially listed as 'doubtful' with a stiff back and is likely to sit this one out. Even if he did play however, the Bucks are the correct side in our opinion and should win and cover. Milwaukee Center, Gregg Monroe will present a challenge for rookie Cauley-Stein or Kosta Koufos and would greatly frustrate the temperamental Cousins who is at less than 100%, if he did play. The Kings may have somewhat of an advantage at the PG position with Rondo and Darren Collison taking on the taller Michael Carter-Williams but that's about it. In almost every other position, Jason Kidd's side should have the edge and that should result in a fairly comfortable victory.
The Kings are playing their 5th consecutive road game and on the eve of Thanksgiving, they are no doubt tired and looking ahead to returning home! They will get their wish after this contest as this is the finale of a challenging road trip. They have lost 3 of their first 4 games on this East coast road trip despite playing fairly well and it has to be disheartening that they only have one narrow win over Orlando to show for it! They put up a great fight against Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat and had a chance to win at least one of those games but the real backbreaker came in their last game in Charlotte when they were outscored by 17 points in the 4th quarter as the Hornets forced overtime! Understandably demoralized and frustrated, they lost by 5 points in OT. What should have been an outright win for their backers, turned into a non-cover!
It is no secret that there is friction in Sacramento with George Karl and Cousins not always seeing eye to eye. Not only that, there are other big egos in the locker room such as Rudy Gay and Rajon Rondo and that has led this team to play selfish basketball, often going for isolations instead of sharing the ball well. Karl is a Hall of Fame coach but he's not been able to stamp his authority on this squad as he did with the Denver Nuggets previously. Some of the players have not shown him as much respect as they should be and he seems to somehow be okay with that. This strange dynamic hasn't translated to results on the court and that is no surprise given that the Kings are not playing as a team. They don't have the same bond and unity that most NBA rosters do and that will see them struggle until the situation is rectified.
It hasn't been a good start to the season for the young Bucks but what sets them apart from their opponents tonight, is their admiration for their coach, Jason Kidd and everything that he preaches! Milwaukee is capable of playing some stifling defense and after some very high-scoring games recently, the front office has reiterated their desire to be sound on that end of the court. We expect the Bucks to start playing better defense again soon as they have the size, length and desire to do so. It is only a matter of time before they put the pieces back together. Unlike in Sacramento, there is no one player that gets 'special treatment' or is seemingly above the franchise. This is a united group where the collective effort is emphasized and each member of the squad knows that they are valued and have a role to play.
After a challenging road trip of their own, the Bucks returned to Milwaukee to play the Pistons on Monday and answered the bell. They regained their confidence with a dominant effort (109-88 final score) that saw them hold Detroit to just 34% shooting! Jason Kidd admitted after the game that while seeing his team score 109 points and cruise to a blowout win was nice, it was their defensive display that he was most impressed by and what he demands! Milwaukee is unlikley to hold the Kings to 34% FG shooting tonight but they will have an easier time containing the Kings than Sacramento does with their offense. That's because the Kings are one of the worst defensive clubs in the league and still don't seem to have a good understanding of their specific roles and assignments on that end of the court! That has led to disharmony and arguments on and off the court and it is evident that this is a team in some disarray after a disappointing 5-10 start of the season. Look for another uninspired effort from Sacramento as they are eagerly awaiting their return home while their opponents are finally healthy and keen on putting together a winning streak. The overtime loss in Charlotte will still be on their minds and a great source of frustration after playing so well for 3 quarters! Bucks have the physical and mental edge and that should result in a win and cover.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Kings are just 11-23-1 ATS in their last 35 non-conference road games!
- Bucks are 9-1 ATS against an opponent that committed 18 or less fouls in 2 straight games!
- Kings have won only 7 of 30 road games with a total of 205-209.5 points over the last 3 years!
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