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Kings vs. Warriors odds, prediction: Pace will be critical for this first-half team total

With the Kings heading to San Francisco to take on the Warriors, we offer a prediction on their first-half team total.

Domantas Sabonis and the Sacramento Kings are in a great spot heading into Game 3 Thursday night. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Domantas Sabonis and the Sacramento Kings are in a great spot heading into Game 3 Thursday night. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)Read moreezra shaw / Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors find themselves in unfamiliar territory as they return home facing an 0-2 hole in their series vs. the Sacramento Kings.

To make matters worse, the Warriors will be without their emotional leader, Draymond Green, as he serves a suspension after the league ruled that he maliciously stepped on the chest of Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis while Sabonis was on the floor.

In Green’s defense, Sabonis practically baited him after holding onto the ankle of the Warriors forward, delaying him from getting back down the court on defense.

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Publically, the Warriors are trying to put a positive spin on this 0-2 deficit by describing it as a new challenge for them to overcome.

However, since this Sacramento team strongly mirrors Golden State, I’m not sure the Warriors ever imagined they’d have to defeat a version of themselves to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Kings vs. Warriors odds

Odds provided by BetMGM

Spread: SAC +6.5 (-115) vs. GSW -6.5 (-105)

Moneyline: SAC (+200) vs. GSW (-250)

Total: Over 239.5 (-110) | Under 239.5 (-110)

Kings vs. Warriors pick

Kings 1H team total: over 58.5 points (-120)

Kings vs. Warriors analysis

The similarities between the Kings and Warriors are laid bare for all to see. Sacramento head coach Mike Brown spent six seasons as an assistant with the Warriors under Steve Kerr.

In his first season with Golden State, Brown served as acting head coach during the playoffs while Kerr battled severe back pain. The Warriors went 12-0 in those games before winning the NBA title.

Last season, Brown again filled in for Kerr in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals after Kerr tested positive for COVID-19. The Warriors also won that game, boosting Brown’s playoff record as acting head coach of the Warriors to 13-0.

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When you look at how the Kings play, they’re practically a spitting image of the Warriors. Both teams like to play fast, shoot from beyond the perimeter and deploy an antagonist in their starting lineup.

Per TeamRankings, The Kings are 12th in possessions (104.3) per game, while the Warriors (105.8) rank first. The Warriors lead the league in 3-point field goals (16.6) per game, while the Kings are fifth (13.7). And lastly, much like the Warriors have an agitator in Green, the Kings have their version in Sabonis.

It’s pretty remarkable how Brown has transformed the Kings in his first year. The most significant change has been on the perimeter as Sacramento went from averaging 33.2 3-point attempts to 37.3 and 11.4 3-point field goals to 13.7.

All this resulted in the Kings vaulting from 25th (106.6 points per 100 possessions) in offensive efficiency last season to being first (115.8 points per 100 possessions) in the league for this campaign.

But the similarities don’t end there, as the Kings also have a former Warriors player in Harrison Barnes. Golden State drafted Barnes seventh overall, and he’d win a championship with them in 2015. However, when it looked like the Warriors were ready to give him an extension, Golden State opted to sign Kevin Durant as a free agent in the offseason, leaving Barnes expendable.

Thus, there’s a lot of history between these two teams that are separated by less than 90 miles.

With Brown and Barnes comparing notes, the Kings are keenly aware of the Warriors’ potential weaknesses. And now, with Green sidelined for Game 3, the Warriors clearly won’t be at full strength.

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This is Green’s second postseason suspension in his career. The last time the Warriors were in this spot was Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, a series the Warriors led 3-1 before losing the final three games.

Sacramento’s tempo is the key thing that sticks out to me for this game. Brown continues to implore his team to play faster during his team’s huddles, and he’s not shy about telling anyone who might be listening in.

Brown knows he has the younger team and wants to tire out the Warriors. I also think he’s banking on the Warriors being too stubborn to change their playing style.

As a result, we have another high total that was bet up to 239.5 after opening at 238.5. We’ve also seen the Kings take money as they’re down to 6.5-point underdogs after opening at +7.5.

With this game being a must-win for the Warriors, I will pass on the side altogether and back the Kings to have another big offense performance by going over their first-half team total of 58.5 points.

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