The Most Important Matchups and Best Bets for Tuesday’s NBA Slate
Tuesday’s NBA slate features seven games to choose from. The action gets underway with a pair of contests at 7 p.m. ET and wraps up with a 10 p.m. ET tip-off between the Raptors and Clippers.
One of the matchups that I’ll have my eye on tonight is the Kings vs. the Thunder. The Kings are technically still in contention for the play-in tournament, while the Thunder are playing for the future. That said, the Kings are expected to be without three key contributors on Tuesday. Can they take care of business as road favorites?
Let’s dive in.
The Kings absolutely need to win this matchup if they have any shot of making the play-in tournament. They’ve dropped four full games behind the Spurs for the No. 10 seed, and they would also have to leapfrog the Pelicans.
However, they’ll have their hands full tonight. De’Aaron Fox remains out due to health and safety protocols, while Tyrese Haliburton has been ruled out with a knee injury. Harrison Barnes is also doubtful, and his absence would leave the Kings without three of their most important players.
Fox has been the driving force for the offense all season. He leads the team in a host of statistical categories, including advanced metrics like Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) and Box Score Plus/Minus.
Barnes has arguably been their most important player in terms of winning. The Kings have increased their Net Rating by +10.9 points per 100 possessions with Barnes on the court this season, which puts him in the 96th percentile for qualified players per Cleaning the Glass.
The Kings have played 552 minutes with Fox and Barnes off the court this season, and they’ve been outscored by an average of -4.3 points per 100 possessions over that stretch. Add in the absence of Haliburton – who has been one of the most impressive rookies this season – and the Kings are facing an uphill battle.
Of course, the Thunder have been an absolute disaster recently, but they are at least expected to have Lu Dort in the lineup. His presence has been vital for the Thunder this season, particularly since Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Al Horford have been shut down. He returned to the lineup in their last game, which the Thunder lost by just three points against the Suns.
Ultimately, I think the Thunder can keep this game competitive. The sharps seem to agree, with the Thunder receiving 13% more dollars than bet tickets in this matchup.
There has already been some significant line movement on today’s slate.
The largest line move involves the Pistons. They were originally listed as 6.5-point underdogs vs. the Hornets, but they’re down to just +4.0 on FanDuel Sportsbook.
The big reason for the line movement is that the Hornets’ injury report. They’ve ruled out five players for today’s contest: Devonte’ Graham, P.J. Washington, Miles Bridges, Gordon Hayward, and Cody Martin.
However, the Pistons are going to be extremely thin as well. They’ve ruled out a host of veterans for the second straight game, and they’ll have some additional absences on Tuesday. Josh Jackson has already been ruled out, while Hamidou Diallo and Frank Jackson are questionable. That doesn’t leave a ton of options for them at the moment, so I’m not sure if they’ll be able to take advantage of the Hornets’ injury situation.