NBA Odds & Picks: Our Best Bets for Warriors vs. Lakers (Sunday, Feb. 28)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: The Lakers’ Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell.
Sunday’s eight-game slate brings plenty of intriguing matchups, including an afternoon tilt between the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) and a primetime matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Our staff’s NBA best bets focus on the latter matchup, including a player prop and a play on the total.
Let’s dig in.
NBA Odds & Picks
Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Brandon Anderson: When it was announced that Anthony Davis would be out a few weeks with a Achilles injury, I got really excited for Montrezl Harrell. It looked like this would be Harrell’s time to shine. The Lakers went out and brought him in this season specifically for a reason like this — to soak up regular-season minutes and keep Davis and LeBron James fresh for the games that matter most.
I was so excited about Harrell’s production during this stretch that I even wrote an entire piece about him. But then a funny thing happened, and by funny I mean terrible. First, Harrell stunk for a couple games. Well, more like he barely played. Against the Wolves, Harrell played only 18 minutes but racked up 17 points and six rebounds. At nearly a point a game, I was encouraged and bet Harrell against the Nets a couple days later. He played his fewest minutes all season (15) and had just 10 points and four boards.
After that, books stopped offering Harrell props. His minutes were just too unreliable for them to put lines out for them. After all, guys who play 15 and 18 minutes a game don’t get prop lines on other teams, so why get them for the Lakers? And naturally, the Lakers started playing Harrell more over the last week and he put up 19.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in 25 minutes per game over a four-game stretch. LA scored a lot better with more Harrell involvement, and even more so now that Dennis Schroder is back.
Now that Harrell is playing more again, we finally have another chance to bet him, and I’m taking it. The Warriors feel like a good opponent for Trez. It’s not a particularly intelligent defense, outside of the two superstars, so there should be room for some easy looks at the rim. Harrell should be able to stay on the court and log minutes and usage against a high-pace team.
Give Harrell minutes and he’s going to produce. Harrell has at least 16 points in each of these last four games and at least nine rebounds in three of them. I think he ends up close to a 20/10 game, so you could play the points or the points + rebounds angle if you like, but I’ll play the safest route and just go for seven rebounds. I’ll play to -140 and hope Harrell keeps the numbers rolling in.
Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Kenny Ducey: The over has hit just once in the last six Lakers games, which is a testament to their superb defense but also an indictment of their ability to score without Anthony Davis. I think the combination should produce yet another under on Sunday.
Los Angeles got Dennis Schroder back on Friday, which gave its offense a boost, but still left it in a so-so spot. The team posted an offensive rating of 107.4, a performance that was statistically below the median we’ve seen so far this season. So while the Lakers were able to figure a little bit more out on offense, they still failed to prove they can score without Davis in the lineup, even against one of the league’s most porous defenses in the Trail Blazers.
On defense, though, the Lakers were a revelation. They had their eighth-best defensive performance of the year, allowing 98.9 points per 100 plays, and the best since Feb. 8. Mixing in the fact that L.A. has played at a painstakingly slow 96.91 pace over the last seven games — the second-slowest in the NBA — and I think we’ve got a recipe for an under once more here. Golden State has found ways to score and push the tempo of late, but the Lakers should be able to control the pace of this game just as they have done against some of the quickest teams lately.
Even if the Lakers’ defense fails them, I don’t foresee the offense having much success given its recent struggles, slow pace and the fact that it’s facing a very good defense on the Golden State side. This should be a perfect storm for the under. I’d bet it to 219.