Bucks-Lakers Betting Preview: Can LA Cover Against the NBA’s Best?

Bucks-Lakers Betting Preview: Can LA Cover Against the NBA’s Best? article feature image

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: LA Lakers forward LeBron James (23), Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34).

Betting Odds: Milwaukee Bucks- Los Angeles Lakers

  • Spread: Bucks -5
  • Over/Under: 240
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: ESPN

>> All odds as of 3:00 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets

A matchup between the best team in the NBA and the 10th-best team in the Western conference wouldn’t be a noteworthy game under most circumstances. But when that matchup features arguably the best player of this generation, LeBron James, and the future face of the NBA in Giannis Antetokounmpo, it is must-see TV.

LeBron vs. Giannis has been a treat over the past few seasons, just check out the head-to-head averages in their past four meetings:

James: 33.3 PTS | 6.5 REB | 8.5 AST | 3-1 record
Antetokounmpo: 34.5 PTS | 10.3 REB | 6.0 AST | 1-3 record

Will the Lakers pick up a game in the standings at home against the NBA’s best? Out analysts discuss.

What’s at Stake

With 21 games left on the schedule, the Lakers are desperate for wins as they sit three games out of the playoff standings in the West. But the Bucks actually have an opportunity to make a statement with a win in Los Angeles on Friday night:

The Bucks have clearly been the best team in the NBA this season, but an opportunity to be the first team to clinch a playoff berth would certainly put the best teams out West on notice.

As for the Lakers, they have a lot of work to do to catch up in the standings and March will be a brutal month for them to prove that they can do it. You can track their odds to make the postseason here.

Betting Trends to Know

The Lakers face the No. 1-seeded Bucks who have won six straight, including 18 of their past 20 games. The Lakers have had success covering the spread against the best teams in the league this season, but have had serious trouble against the worst teams.

Lakers are 10-25-1 (28.6%) against the spread when facing teams at or below .5000. When the Lakers face a team above .500, they are 16-8 (66.7%) ATS this season, the second-most profitable team in the NBA behind just the Blazers. — Evan Abrams

When James moved to the Western Conference, his ATS troubles against the Eastern Conference made the flight to LA along with him.

This season, the Lakers are 5-14-1 (26.3%) ATS against the Eastern Conference, the least profitable team against the East this season. Dating back to last season with the Cavaliers, James’ teams are a combined 34-54-1 (38.6%) ATS when facing the East. — Abrams

In the past five seasons, LeBron has played 274 regular season games and has been an underdog in 52 of them. His teams have gone 28-24 straight up and 33-19 ATS. — John Ewing

Milwaukee (47-14) has the best record in the NBA and has gone 35-23-3 ATS. Great teams (won 75% or more of their games) with winning ATS records are often overvalued late in the season. After the All-Star break (approximately Game 55 or later) such teams have gone 219-261-4 (45.6%) ATS since 2005. — Ewing

Mears: How I’m Betting Tonight’s Game

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