Two NBA Locks For Tuesday, November 22

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Injuries and/or “load management” have decimated what would’ve been an awesome NBA slate Tuesday. Ben Simmons makes his return to the City of Brotherly Love when the Brooklyn Nets visit the Philadelphia 76ers. But, Sixers big Joel Embiid and James Harden are both out with injuries.

The Memphis Grizzlies hosting the Sacramento Kings should be an intriguing matchup between two young, dynamic rosters. However, it’s dulled by the injuries to Grizzlies guards Ja Morant and Desmond Bane.

That said, I do have looks in the Kings-Grizzlies and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns game. Below, I’ll handicap and provide a best bet in both.

Sacramento Kings (9-6) at Memphis Grizzlies (10-7)

Let’s follow the money flooding in on Sacramento because there’s no way that’s square money. All this pro-Kings action suggests Morant and Bane are still out with injuries. Currently, Morant is listed as “questionable”.

Also, I don’t think casual NBA bettors are paying attention to how well the Kings are playing lately. Per (CTG), Sactown has the best non-garbage time net rating (+13.4) and best ATS margin (+10.6) over the last two weeks.

The Kings do a good job defending what the Grizzlies rely on

Memphis uses turnovers to get out in transition and crashes the offensive glass. The Grizzlies lead the NBA in second-chance points per game (PPG) and are third in fastbreak PPG.

Sacramento is second in defensive rebounding rate and seventh in offensive turnover rate, per CTG. The Kings are second in fastbreak PPG allowed and fourth in second-chance PPG allowed.

If Morant is out, the Kings have the best player on the floor

Even if Morant can play, Kings PG De’Aaron Fox has outplayed Morant in their career head-to-heads and Fox has been phenomenal this season.

Sacramento Kings PG De'Aaron Fox handles the ball against Memphis Grizzlies PG Ja Morant at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.
Sacramento Kings PG De’Aaron Fox handles the ball against Memphis Grizzlies PG Ja Morant at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. (Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

In their seven career meetings, Fox is outscoring Morant (23.1-18.7 PPG), outshooting him from the field (52.7-45.0%) and behind the arc (37.1-19.0%), and has a better assist-to-turnover ratio. Fox is averaging career bests in PPG (25.4), true shooting rate (65.1%), and PER (25.7) in 2022-23.

On top of that …

Sactown plays better half-court offense

According to CTG, the Kings are second in points per half-court play run and first in effective field goal shooting (eFG%). Whereas the Grizzlies are 25th points per half-court play run and 21st in eFG%. Memphis’ defense is routinely out of position and is 22nd in defensive eFG%.

NBA Best Bet #1: Kings +1 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to Kings -2.5

The Sacramento Kings’ odds at the Memphis Grizzlies from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Tuesday, November 22nd at 10:40 p.m. ET.

Los Angeles Lakers (5-10) at Phoenix Suns (10-6)

Don’t look now but the Lakers are actually playing some pretty good basketball recently. They’ve won three straight games and Anthony Davis is averaging 35.0 points per game (PPG) on 58.1% shooting with 17.3 rebounds over that span.

AD balls out against the Suns since joining LA: 26.6 PPG on 50.0% shooting with 12.0 rebounds in six games. The Lakers are 4-2 straight up (SU) in those games and his best game (42 points) came with LeBron James out of the lineup.

The Lakers learned how to play without LeBron

Something worth looking at is how well the Lakers have played without LeBron on the floor. LeBron has missed five of the last six games and is “questionable” for Tuesday’s game. The Lakers are 3-2 SU in those games.

Per CTG, the Lakers score 7.4 fewer points per 100 possessions when LeBron is on the floor. The Lakers being better without LeBron on the floor is obvious by the eyeball test as well.

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James during the NBA game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Arena in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James during the NBA game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Arena in Los Angeles. (Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

They just stand around and watch LeBron and it’s the easiest offense to defend. The Lakers get to the foul line 10.9% less and have a 7.1% worse effective field goal shooting rate when LeBron is on the floor.

The bottom line is LeBron is a detriment at this point in his career. He’s a ball-stopping, turnover-prone non-defensive player. If LeBron catches fire from deep, he can offset his bad defense and miscues. But, at the moment, he’s setting the Lakers back.

‘Contrarian/fade the market’ angles

Bettors have been burned by the Lakers this season and starting to turn on them. DraftKings Sportsbook is reporting via VSIN more than 80% of the cash is on the Suns at the time of writing. The House rooting for the Lakers is rare but Phoenix is the public side Tuesday.

LA gets better looks

The Lakers have the best shot quality in the league (per CTG) with the highest volume of attempts at the rim and average the second-most paint PPG. The Suns have the second-worst shot quality and take a ton of mid-range jumpers. Finally, LA has a better defensive shot quality allowed than Phoenix.

NBA Best Bet #2: Lakers +10 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to +8

The Los Angeles Lakers’ odds at the Phoenix Suns from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Tuesday, November 22nd at 10:40 p.m. ET.

Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.

Written by Geoff Clark

Geoff Clark serves as OutKick’s sports betting guru. As a writer and host of OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark, he dives deep into the sports betting landscape and welcomes an array of sports betting personalities on his show to handicap America’s biggest sporting events.

Previously, Clark was a writer/podcaster for USA TODAY's Sportsbook Wire website, handicapping all the major sports tentpoles with a major focus on the NFL, NBA and MLB.

Clark graduated from St. John University.

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