Lakers-Raptors Betting Guide: Can LeBron James Regain His Powers in Toronto?

Lakers-Raptors Betting Guide: Can LeBron James Regain His Powers in Toronto? article feature image
Credit:

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Lakers forward LeBron James (23), Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2).

Betting Odds: Los Angeles Lakers-Toronto Raptors

  • Spread: Raptors -9
  • Over/Under: 231.5
  • Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: TNT

Injury Update (6:20 p.m. ET): Kyle Lowry has been ruled out.

While the playoff fates of both teams are virtually set in stone, the Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors will do battle up north where LeBron James has a history of putting on some heroic performances.

Will the Lake show put on a show or will Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors put the LA out of its misery? Our analysts discuss.

Betting Trends to Know

The Lakers have not been able to gain any momentum at all this season.

Since Christmas Day, the Lakers have played 12 games after shooting at least 50% from the field (which they did in their last game against the Bulls), and they are 3-9 against the spread, failing to cover the spread by 6.0 points per game. The Lakers are the second-least profitable team in the Western Conference over that span ahead of just the Warriors. — Evan Abrams

After the second round of the 2018 playoffs, fans started calling Toronto “LeBronto” and for good reason. James dominated the Raptors at every opportunity especially when the chips were stacked against him most.

Over the past five seasons, LeBron’s teams are 7-0 against the spread and straight up when he was an underdog playing in Toronto winning by 9.7 points per game, according to our Bet Labs data. — Malik Smith

Mears: How I’m Betting Tonight’s Game

The Lakers are in the middle of a free fall, out of the playoffs and putting together some embarrassingly poor efforts. Over their past 10, in which they should have been highly motivated, they went 3-7 straight up and 2-8 against the spread. Since they announced that James could have his minutes scaled back for the rest of the year.

And then the other night vs. the Bulls happened. The Lakers won, covered the -2 spread on the road, and LeBron went for 36-10-4 in 33 minutes. That’s a bit of a scale back, and it’s just the Bulls, but if LeBron is suddenly going to be engaged then the Lakers will obviously be more competitive than they have been.

At some point it seems bettors will all turn on the Lakers, although that hasn’t quite happened yet. As of this writing, the Raptors are getting the majority of the spread bets (64%), but the Lakers are actually getting the majority of the spread money (67%). As such, the line has actually moved toward the Lakers, which is a bit surprising given their past 2-3 weeks. That indicates that some sharp money is actually on LA.

All in all, it’s just so hard to trust these Lakers. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are out for the year, and they’re dealing with even more injuries. As of Thursday afternoon, Tyson Chandler and Lance Stephenson are both out and Josh Hart is playing through knee tendinitis that kept him questionable most of the day.

Further, over the past month the data suggests they’re just a pretty bad team. During that span, they’ve ranked 27th with a -5.4 point differential, sitting 19th on offense and 26th on defense. Given their current personal — specifically Lonzo remaining out — it’s hard to imagine the defense suddenly improving, especially against such a good Toronto squad.

Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23), Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka (9).

Again, things looked better the other night against Chicago, but even that is suspect. In that game, the Bulls hit just 6-of-16 three-pointers classified as open by the NBA.com; they went just 38.9% on open shots overall, in fact. Good shooters like Lauri Markkanen (4-of-17 overall, 0-of-8 on 3s) and Otto Porter (5-of-14) went cold despite being quite hot lately.

That seems more like a single-game blip instead of a sign of future things to come. Further, this matchup is tough for LA, which is the best team at getting to the rim (and awful shooting from the outside).

Toronto is top five at protecting the rim and generally doesn’t give up anything good from the efficient areas of the court. If the Lakers are going to stay in this game, it’ll require the Raptors being off or LA suddenly shooting well.

I’m not betting on that. I think this line is about right, so I’ll be staying away. Godspeed if you’re one of the bettors riding the sharp money and taking the Lakers plus the points.


Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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