Lakers vs. Clippers Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions: Is There Value on the Total?
Photo credit: Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Paul George and LeBron James
- The Lakers and the Clippers (-2.5) square off in a major Western Conference showdown on Sunday (3:30 ET).
- The Clippers have been playing some of their best basketball of the year, but our experts are looking at the total instead of the spread.
- See the full betting breakdown below.
Lakers at Clippers Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions
- Spread: Clippers -2.5
- Over/Under: 225.5
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: ABC
The last time we saw these two teams play was Christmas day. This is the third installment, and we’re catching both squads at a great time, as they’ve been dominating the league over the past few weeks.
Which team has the edge here? Will LeBron James & Co. follow up their impressive Milwaukee victory or will the Clips continue to show they’re the league’s best when fully healthy? Let’s break it down below.
Betting Trends to Know
In Clippers’ conference games, the under is 22-16 this season. In just division games, the under is 6-3. The first two games between these two teams this season both went under the total.
The Lakers have been impressive of late, covering the spread in eight of their past 10 games. And they’ve excelled in this spot this year, going 6-1 against the spread (ATS) as underdogs.
Wob’s Weekly Battle
Every week this NBA season, Wob is choosing a specific NBA battle to bet on. This week’s bet is a star-studded one: Who will score more points — LeBron James or Kawhi Leonard?
You all chose to take the LeBron side of the prop, and PointsBet has boosted the odds up even more, from -105 to +120.
Mears: How I’m Handicapping This Game
These teams have been awesome lately, ranking in the top-three with the Milwaukee Bucks in Net Rating over the past two weeks. And just on Friday, the Lakers took care of business against those Bucks, winning by double digits against Giannis Antetokounmpo & Co.
The Lakers have done it almost entirely through defense, which has ranked second over the past two weeks, allowing just 101.0 points per 100 possessions. The Clippers have also been incredible defensively in that time frame, ranking third, but they’ve also been top-five on offense. The Lakers? Just 25th in Offensive Rating.
These teams have met twice this year, and they both came in some weird circumstances. The first meeting was the first game of the year back in October: a 112-102 Clippers win without Paul George. And then they met on Christmas Day: a 111-103 Clippers win with Paul George.
The first game was slower-paced, but the Christmas affair was about what you’d expect from these teams … maybe a little slower than average. And yet, the totals both went under — and the unders hit at numbers way lower than the current market has this one.
In both games, both teams struggled compared to normal around the rim, which is honestly a very good sign for the Clippers, who don’t exactly have amazing rim-protecting centers on paper. They’ve surprised in that regard this year, and that will be key to beating the Lakers, who prefer to attack the rim than take outside shots; the Lakers start essentially three centers and really like to utilize their size and athleticism alongside LeBron.
Among the four offensive performances (two for the Clips, two for the Lakers), only one was pretty solid. That was the Clips in the opening-night game, although that was mostly due to just incredibly hot shooting from the mid-range, which is always going to be a volatile aspect of the game.
I think the biggest thing for me is just how awesome these defenses have been lately — and against some really good teams. The Clips just absolutely shut down the Rockets’ small-ball offense the other night, and the Lakers on Friday had a smart scheme against the Bucks that worked perfectly. These teams are finally healthy and operating like title contenders.
As a result, I think there’s some value on the under here at 225.5. The Lakers the other night weren’t exactly great offensively against the Bucks, which definitely makes sense. The Bucks play an extreme defense scheme that completely drops their bigs and forces team to win by shooting from outside. That’s not something the Lakers are really equipped or want to do, and they hit just 20.0% of their 3s. Again, they won solely because of defense.
The Clippers’ defensive scheme isn’t the same as the Bucks, but they are one of the best teams this season at deterring shots at the rim, which is so crucial against the Lakers. It’s a little trickier on the other side of the ball: The Clips take a bunch of mid-rangers, and they rely on their stars self-creating and making tough shots. Sometimes those go in; sometimes they don’t. We often don’t want to admit how much variance is in a single game of basketball.
But we still have to try to find an edge, and I think it’s on the under given what we’ve seen from these two teams in their matchups together this year plus how they’ve played against other teams lately. These look like the best two teams in the league, and they’re playing on a string defensively right now. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a slower-paced conference duel that goes towards the under like it has two games in a row now.
Pick: Under 225.5
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.