NBA Betting Odds & Picks: The Action Network Staff’s Best Bets for Spurs vs. Lakers (December 23)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers.
- There's plenty of NBA action on Thursday night even as the league continues to deal with COVID outbreaks.
- Our analysts have their eyes on the Spurs-Lakers matchup, with a bet on the moneyline and total.
- Continue reading for our best bets from tonight's NBA slate.
Thursday’s NBA slate is the last one before Christmas day and most of the league is in action tonight with 11 games on the schedule (Nets-Trail Blazers was postponed earlier this week).
Despite so many games being on the docket, tonight’s matchup in Los Angeles — the final game in Staples Center before it gets its new name — is the lone game drawing the eyes of our betting analysts.
Check out their analysis and best bets for Thursday night below.
NBA Odds & Picks
San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Kenny Ducey: I’m carving out a nice niche for myself as the guy who sits in his apartment in freezing New York City and takes the Los Angeles teams on a nightly basis even though I have no connection to them. The fact remains, though, there is value to be found in the Lakers in spots like these.
We know things have picked up defensively since LeBron James returned, considering the Lakers have ranked sixth in points allowed per 100 possessions in December. Against the mighty Suns, L.A. was able to post a 102.9 Defensive Rating despite missing many of its key cogs. The question has been about the offense, and that is one which should be answered positively on Thursday.
San Antonio is a middling defensive team at best, and has ranked 17th in efficiency for the month of December. Its win over the Clippers, which came as a result of L.A. missing countless wide open jumpers, broke a streak of three straight games with a defensive rating of 121 or higher.
The Lakers may have covered if not for James twisting his ankle in the third quarter on Tuesday, which led to him taking it easy on the offensive end for a few minutes then sitting out some crucial minutes. That’s a marvel considering Talen Horton-Tucker shot 1-for-13 and Isaiah Thomas went 1-for-11 from the field. Horton-Tucker was making his return from a COVID layoff and should see some positive regression here, and Carmelo Anthony will most likely not get ejected in the second quarter again.
The bottom line here is there is plenty of reason to believe the Lakers’ offense can thrive against a bad defense, and that’s good enough reason to take them at this price.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Raheem Palmer: The Lakers have played the second-fastest pace in the league with their current starting lineup featuring Russell Westbrook, Isaiah Thomas, Talen Horton-Tucker, LeBron James and DeAndre Jordan. It’s not a lineup anyone would be scared of defensively and facing a young, athletic San Antonio Spurs team I wouldn’t be surprised to see both teams run up and down the court in high scoring affair.
The Spurs have particularly struggled over the past two weeks on the defensive end of the floor allowing opposing teams to score 117.3 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes according to Cleaning the Glass.
The Spurs are just 25th in half court defense allowing 96.3 points per possession and I’m expecting the Lakers to bounce back offensively after their blowout loss to the Suns in which they scored just 90 points on 0.85 points per possession.
The Lakers were just 7-of-35 (20%) from behind the arc and that’s not likely to continue against a Spurs defense that ranks 23rd in opponent 3-point shooting percentage (36.8%). The Lakers’ defensive metrics have been solid of late, but I’m not buying it.
My model makes this game 225 so at 223.5 and with the majority of the public on the under, I’ll play the over.
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