Lakers vs. Clippers Betting Picks & Odds: Where’s the Edge in This Star-Studded Affair?

Lakers vs. Clippers Betting Picks & Odds: Where’s the Edge in This Star-Studded Affair? article feature image

Photo credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kawhi Leonard

  • The Los Angeles Lakers (-3.5) and LA Clippers face off in a highly-anticipated matchup between two teams expected to be at the top of the Western Conference.
  • Our NBA crew runs through everything you need to know in order to bet this season opener.

NBA Betting Odds: Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers

  • Spread: Lakers -3.5
  • Over/Under: 224
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: TNT

Odds as of Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

LeBron James. Kawhi Leonard. Anthony Davis.

The stars are out tonight in L.A. as two of the title favorites battle it out to begin the season.

Our NBA experts dive into what you need to know for tonight’s slate, notable betting trends, how they’re wagering on tonight’s game and more.

Betting Trend to Know

Underdogs in Game 1 of the season have gone 112-98-2 (53.3%) against the spread since 2005. Home underdogs are an impressive 41-24 (63%) ATS. Only 23% of bets are on the Clippers +3 vs. Lakers. John Ewing

Moore: Lakers vs. Clippers Interior

Everyone seems fond of Ivica Zubac, the former Laker who became a Clipper. One of the beloved “Laker kids” last year, the Lakers traded Zubac in an attempt to add some shooting at the deadline for a post-All-Star push that never came.

The 7-foot Zubac is the starting center despite Montrezl Harrell’s more prolific numbers. At 22 years old, he has great upside long-term as a defender and as an at-the-rim finisher.

His defensive metrics were good last year: The Clippers were 5.6 points better per 100 possessions with Zubac on the floor. There have been some worrying numbers in preseason, but hey, it’s preseason.

The bigger issue with tonight’s matchup is Anthony Davis.

In the three meetings in which Davis has played vs. Zubac, he has averaged 35 points on 64% shooting and 14.6 rebounds. Now, in two of those meetings, Zubac played fewer than six minutes, and all three meetings were when he was with the Lakers, who were much worse defensively overall.

But there’s reason to believe Davis will still dominate the matchup enough to twist the game in the Lakers’ favor.

Much of the time, Zubac will be matched vs. JaVale McGee at center, leaving undersized JaMychal Green or Moe Harkless to guard AD. Even if Kawhi Leonard takes a stint on him, that plays into Leonard’s one weakness, defending in the post vs. bigger players (though that’s something he’s improved on).

The Clippers, who are without Paul George as he recovers from shoulder surgery, ranked 19th overall last year in defending the rim on non-post-ups. They face a serious size disadvantage and while their perimeter game is better in terms of shot quality, the Lakers have more to show on that end than they did in preseason.

The Lakers were 1-point dogs as recently as last Friday, before this line got moving in a hurry the past three days. It’s moved five points in two days, with 91% of the money currently on the Lakers.

In opening night games in which the line moved at least a point toward a team after the team opened as a dog, those teams went 37-24 (60.7%) against the spread since 2005. Matt Moore

Betting lean: Lakers Team Total Over 114.5

Mears: How I’m Approaching This Game

I unfortunately wasn’t able to grab the Lakers at +1 when it opened, and it now sits all the way at Lakers -3. Again, given the timing and handle for these opening-night games, I think we’re very close to closing lines and there’s not much value left.

If you’re curious about why the spread has moved so much, my colleague PJ Walsh detailed the movement here. The total has also been pushed down: We’ve tracked steam moves on under 227 and 226. It now sits at 223.5 at most books.

I wish I could identify a bigger edge for this game, but the place to try to gain value might be in DFS, as this game will largely be lower-owned than the first one given the lower total and more complicated rotations. Davis is the stud to own, but the role players should offer contrarian opportunities.

The biggest edge might be in single-game slates in the evening, as it’s possible we won’t get starting lineup or injury news on Rajon Rondo until after the slate locks with the Raptors-Pelicans affair. If Rondo is unable to go, I’d expect most of his minutes to go to Alex Caruso and Quinn Cook, with more going to the former.

Both are dealing with injuries of their own, but Caruso is probable with a pelvic contusion and Cook has a calf injury (the Lakers said they would monitor his minutes). Given all of that information, LeBron might have to take a heavier-than-usual load in terms of playmaking tonight.

Betting-wise, look for props if you can still find them. I liked some for Zubac and James; follow me in our free app to see those bets. I’d also potentially grab the Clippers if this line gets pushed up above +4 by game time. — Bryan Mears

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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