The January 17th NBA free pick sees the Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Hornets getting set to go at it again. These two teams met January 12th with the Kings notching a 104-97 win. Oddsmakers are expecting a much higher scoring game in the rematch, setting the O/U at 229.5. Charlotte is at home for the 2nd time in 2019 while Sacramento is playing just their 2nd road game of the calendar year – do the Hornets get the win in the flip-flop game?
Kings Look to Continue Their Winning Ways
Sacramento has found their winning ways, notching three straight and 4 of their last 5. The Kings are currently in 10th in the West, but are just 2GB from the 5th seed. The January 17th NBA free pick still puts Sacramento in a tough spot however as they’ve played 7 of their last 8 games at home. Since December 30th, the Kings have made one road trip which resulted in a 111-115 loss to Phoenix. Thursday Sacramento has to travel across the country for an early 7:00 PM ET tip. How do they respond?
The Kings begin a 6-game road swing Thursday and many would agree they are the better team in this matchup vs. the Hornets. Sacramento has nice depth up front with Willie Cauley-Stein and the returning-from-injury Marvin Bagley III. De’Aaron Fox can push the pace from the backcourt – something that could be critical vs. a Hornets team that had been on the road the past 12 days. The Kings are 2nd in the league in possessions per game but maybe the bigger question is if Sacramento can keep up that pace as they go on the road?
Can Walker Carry the Hornets to Victory?
Easily the biggest way that Charlotte can get the home win in the January 17th NBA free pick is via a big game from Kemba Walker. He had 31 points in the Hornets’ 107-94 loss to Sacramento on Saturday and followed that up with 33 vs. San Antonio. Can somebody else step up to give Walker a break however? In the last game vs. the Kings the 2nd highest scorer was Nicolas Batum with 13 points while Sacramento had three players score 20+.
If the Kings are able to push the pace Thursday, do the Hornets have the firepower to go blow-for-blow? Charlotte has been held to 110 points or less in six of the last 7 whereas Sacramento has gone over 110 in 8 of 10. The Kings defense has also buckled down a bit, holding four of five opponents below 107 points. The O/U opened at 230, but when you factor in the travel, the start time, and the offensive/defensive play of both teams this game seems to be heading to a lower scoring affair.
January 17th NBA Free Pick Betting
The Kings are the more talented team in Thursday’s meeting but they haven’t played on the road that much lately. The Kings are just 1-4 ATS their last vs. a team with a winning record. The Hornets are amped up to be back at the Spectrum Center and should be recovered from their road trip after having the last two nights off.
NBA Free Pick: Charlotte Hornets -3