NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Kings vs. Lakers Betting Prevew (January 4)

NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Kings vs. Lakers Betting Prevew (January 4) article feature image

Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

  • The Kings are coming off of one of their best wins of the season after upsetting the Heat on Sunday night.
  • Will they continue their momentum as underdogs against the Lakers and LeBron James on Tuesday?
  • Kenny Ducey breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Kings vs. Lakers Odds

Kings Odds+6.5
Lakers Odds-6.5
Time10:30 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Lakers are beginning to find it. They've come out of a five-game skid to win three of their last four. The problem? Sacramento's done the same in the last four games and could pose a threat considering the history between these teams and injuries the Lakers are dealing with. How do we bet this one? Let's talk about it.

Kings Looking to Keep Building Their Momentum

History, you say? Yes — I'm referring to Sacramento's insane 141-137 win over the Lakers in triple overtime earlier this year in a game where L.A. led by 13 and had its full complement of starters. Though the Lakers would go on to avenge that loss just a few nights later, it was proof that this Sacramento offense can be lethal at times and is certainly capable of exploiting the Lakers' weak unit.

Sacramento continues to be one of the league's worst defensive teams, but it has had some decent offensive showings lately. The Kings are coming off one of their best nights on offense in the last month, posting a 118.6 Offensive Rating in a win over the Heat. However, this team's defense continues to be incredibly soft, ranking 26th in Defensive Efficiency, and its Pace has slowed in recent games, ranking 25th in the last eight.

Unfortunately for the Kings, it looks like Richaun Holmes will miss yet another game under the league's health and safety protocols while Terence Davis is questionable. This would compromise the Kings' interior defense considerably against LeBron James, but outside of that, there shouldn't be too much working against Sacramento in the injury department.

Lakers Thriving Offensively With James at the Five

We can't even discuss LeBron James anymore without first acknowledging that he is injured. He's technically listed a probable here, along with Avery Bradley, though we'd obviously expect those two play given the tags. While Kendrick Nunn and Anthony Davis remain out, this is a very healthy Lakers team compared to the one we saw just a week ago, which was still making its way through the league's health and safety protocols.

Without Davis, the Lakers have been playing James at the center as opposed to running Dwight Howard or DeAndre Jordan out there for massive minutes. It makes sense considering Davis' role as a stretch five, but it's worth noting nevertheless.

In the eight games the Lakers have played without Davis, the Lakers have scored 116.6 points per 100 possessions in the LeBron minutes compared to 110.2 before the injury. Considering those minutes are where the Lakers maximize their output and pull away, they're probably worth looking at the most.

With that, it would seem the Lakers have been able to get more out of James, at least on the offensive end. There are obvious issues like his ability to defend opposing bigs and rebound with some of the league's best, but considering this game may just be a shootout, you've got to feel good about James at the five.

Kings-Lakers Pick

The Kings are always a very difficult team to figure out, but I think I have them pegged on Tuesday. Without Holmes and potentially Terence Davis, defending James inside and exploiting him at the other end is going to be incredibly difficult.

The downside of having James at the five is pretty limited in this matchup, and given the expected pace of this game, I think the Kings will be uncomfortable and even more vulnerable on the offensive end.

I'm comfortable laying 6.5 points with the Lakers but wouldn't go up to eight points.

Pick: Lakers -6.5 (-110)

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