Saturday NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Lakers vs. Raptors Preview (August 1)
Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, Pascal Siakam of the Toronto Raptors.
- The Lakers are favored over the Raptors in Saturday night NBA bubble action, but L.A. essentially locked up the West's No. 1 seed on Thursday.
- Will they be motivated and push stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis?
- Brandon Anderson is backing Toronto on the moneyline, counting on the Lakers to ease into their second game of the restart with very little to play for.
Lakers vs. Raptors Odds
|Lakers odds||-4 [BET NOW]|
|Raptors odds||+4 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-175/+145 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||214.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
The NBA is back! And if (Re-)Opening Night is any indication, the Toronto Raptors’ road to defending their championship might march directly through LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers looked crisp Thursday night, with both Bron and Brow having big nights and looking like their superstar selves at times. Anytime James and Davis both play like that, the Lakers will be really hard to beat.
The Raptors haven’t played yet since the restart, so this is their first action. This looks like the game of the night on a loaded Saturday!
Los Angeles Lakers
Both LeBron and Davis are listed as probable for this one. James is nursing a sore right groin (also known as being 35 and playing your first real game in four months), while Brow is still monitoring that eye.
The Lakers are also short both Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo, but the shorter guard rotation meant more minutes for Alex Caruso, who was terrific defensively, and Dion Waiters, who looked fantastic in his first game with the Lakers.
There’s definitely a question of motivation for L.A. here. The Lakers’ win Thursday night gave them a 6.5-game lead on the Clippers with seven games left, effectively clinching the 1-seed and rendering the remainder of their results meaningless on their end.
That makes any Lakers bet tricky. They’re always a risk to pull the plug early or give James or Davis a lighter load.
The full-strength Lakers are best in the West. The question is whether we’ll get that version or if Thursday night was a nice statement win and they’re now ready to coast through the remaining seeding games.
The Raptors are three games ahead of Boston for the 2-seed, and in the East that means a significantly better first-round matchup, so they should be motivated to show up.
The team is effectively healthy and ready to go, and don’t sweep that fact under the rug. Every key Raptor save OG Anunoby missed at least 12 games this season. Marc Gasol, in particular, was one of the best defenders in the league but hasn’t been healthy since January.
Even with all those injuries and a potential championship hangover, Toronto was as good as any team in the NBA outside that Big 3. Give the Raps a healthy roster instead and they close the gap even further.
The Raptors are deep and talented, and they play hard and bring it on the defensive end. If L.A. isn’t feeling it, this is not a team you want to see on the schedule.
The Raptors were the league’s best defense outside of Milwaukee. There’s one other hidden advantage. Because of Canada travel restriction, Toronto has been in the bubble together longer than anyone, and the Raps already have as much chemistry and familiarity as any team. That continuity gives them a big advantage against a Lakers team still shuffling minutes, and they’ll have a massive bench advantage, too.
Betting Analysis & Pick
As you can probably guess at this point, I’m leaning heavily toward Toronto here. This one opened at Lakers -3.5 and has risen to -4 and will probably tick up further before tip because, you know, Lakers. I love that for the Raptors, and I’m awfully tempted by that +150 moneyline in their favor because I’m greedy.
If we get a close game late, that means LeBron and Davis are locked in and then they’ve got the two best players on the court and could pull away. I’m betting on Toronto bringing the heat defensively and off the bench and just taking this outright.
I like the moneyline above +135, and if it drops below that I’m happy to just take the points and settle for the cover.
The total has risen from 213.5 to 215, too, and given all the great defenders here, that under could look pretty tasty. If you really want to get crazy, parlay the moneyline with the under for something nearing +400 and hope Toronto brings the heat.
The PICK: Raptors +135 or better