Lakers-76ers Betting Preview: Will New-Look Philly Keep Things Rolling?

Lakers-76ers Betting Preview: Will New-Look Philly Keep Things Rolling? article feature image

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Lakers Forward LeBron James (23), 76ers Forward Tobias Harris (33).

Betting Odds: Los Angeles Lakers at Philadelphia 76ers

  • Spread: 76ers -6
  • Over/Under: 234
  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: ABC

>> All odds as of 10:30 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets

LeBron James and the Lakers are coming off a thrilling road win in Boston, but now face the revamped 76ers, who won their first game with Tobias Harris in the lineup over the excellent Nuggets.

Where’s the value in today’s line? Our NBA experts dive in.

Betting Trends to Know

The Lakers enter Sunday’s matchup with the 76ers 5-12-1 (29.4%) against-the-spread (ATS) against Eastern Conference teams this season, failing to cover the spread by 5.8 points per game.

The Lakers are the second-least profitable team in the NBA this season against non-conference opponents ATS, ahead of only the Cavaliers.Evan Abrams

In the Lakers’ last game against the Celtics, they beat Boston on the road as nine-point underdogs while shooting 22-41 (53.7%) from 3-point range — their best 3-point outing with at least 40 attempts since 1985.

For the season, the Lakers are shooting just 33.9% from 3-point range, which ranks 26th in the NBA. Since 2012, teams that shoot above 50% from 3-point range while averaging less than 35% from beyond the arc on the season are just 148-176-4 (45.7%) ATS. Abrams

The Lakers opened as six-point underdogs on the road in Philly. This is the 51st time James has been an underdog in the regular season the past five years. In the previous 50 games, his team has gone 27-23 straight-up and 32-18 ATS. John Ewing

Mears: How I’m Betting Today’s Game

It’s just one game, but the 76ers new starting five looked pretty darn good against the Nuggets.

In 36 possessions together, the fivesome scored a blistering 127.8 points per 100 possessions and allowed just 88.9/100 — good for a +38.9 Net Rating. That certainly won’t hold, but they should be quite good together.

The 76ers’ biggest weakness is spacing around non-shooter Ben Simmons, and Harris definitely provides that. On the season, he’s hitting a ridiculous 43.7% of his 3-pointers. That’ll do.

While he’s not a wing defensive stopper, he doesn’t have to be for Philly. That’s the luxury of playing with two awesome wing defenders in Simmons and Jimmy Butler; at worst, Harris has to defend the third-best option on the team, and still there’s Joel Embiid at the rim to clean things up.

Further, Harris is just fine switching, and that’s a very intriguing strategy for them moving forward given the starting five’s ridiculous length. Again, it’s a small sample, but 76ers fans should be encouraged by that first game.

But the biggest questions surrounding this game are about the Lakers. Sure, they are coming off a big road win in Boston, but as Evan mentioned above that was mostly due to unsustainably hot shooting.

The Lakers have not been very good lately, going 3-6 over their past nine games. During that span, they’re 27th with a -10.4 point differential and have allowed a league-worst 120.7 points per 100 possessions defensively.

Granted, LeBron has played in only three of those nine games. So the question is whether him being back will buoy the defense. The stats say yes: the Lakers have been 7.2 points/100 better defensively with LeBron on the floor vs. off this season.

A big factor in their success with James on the floor is the team commits fouls far less frequently and secures many more defensive rebounds. The question is whether that will continue today against a 76ers team that ranks 11th in offensive rebounding — and could be better with Harris, who is a superior rebounder to Wilson Chandler — and second in offensive free throw rate.

I’d probably lean toward the 76ers -6 given the reasons listed above, but the better bet might be to take Philly in specific quarters like the first, when that revamped starting five will get the majority of minutes together. Against the Nuggets, they won the first quarter by 10 points, lost the second by 10, won the third quarter by one, and won the fourth by six.

That’s especially intriguing given that the Lakers have typically started off games slowly, posting a -4.3 Net Rating in first quarters. Philly, on the other hand, is the third-best first-quarter team this season with a +8.4 point differential.

The Lakers have also been quite bad in the fourth, posting the third-worst point differential at -7.2. Perhaps there will be some live betting value on this game as well. 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.