Pistons vs. Lakers NBA Odds & Picks: How to Bet This Game Based on Injury News
Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers plays defense on Blake Griffin #23 of the Detroit Pistons.
Pistons vs. Lakers Odds
|Moneyline||+800 / -1500|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
On Saturday night, the Lakers host the team who gave them their worst loss of the season; you guessed it, the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons beat the Lakers 107-92 in Detroit last Thursday as Blake Griffin had one of his best games of the season while Anthony Davis missed the game with a quad injury.
Since then, the Pistons have lost three straight games by an average of 19 points per game while the Lakers have won three straight against playoff-caliber teams. With Davis (knee) and LeBron James (ankle) both probable, let’s break down how to find the best value with the Lakers as heavy favorites.
There’s a huge talent gap here, but if the Pistons want to have any chance of repeating their performance from the last meeting, they will need a huge game from Jerami Grant.
Our Action Labs injury dashboard has Blake Griffin listed as doubtful for this game and Griffin has routinely sat out of the Pistons’ back-to-backs this season. Derrick Rose (rest) missed Friday’s game but is expected to play against the Lakers; Wayne Ellington (calf) missed Friday’s game and his status for Saturday is unclear.
Ellington was tied for the best plus/minus among all players in the previous meeting with the Lakers as he scored 20 points and made 6-of-9 3s and was +24 in 29 minutes.
The Pistons have gotten consistently good play from Grant, one of the frontrunners for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. Grant is averaging 23.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game as he is shooting a career-high 40.2% from deep in his first season as a primary scoring option.
Grant, the team’s second-highest-paid player has exceeded expectations, but their highest-paid player, Griffin (making over $36M this season with a player option to make over $38M next season), has been wildly disappointing.
Griffin clearly doesn’t have the same explosive athleticism as he once did, and his shot profile reflects that. Griffin is shooting a career-low 23% of his shots at the rim this season while a career-high 53% of his shot attempts have been 3-pointers.
Per Cleaning The Glass, Griffin ranks in the 70th percentile in shooting accuracy at the rim (68%) while he ranks in the 27th percentile among forwards in 3-point shooting accuracy (35%). Griffin is also averaging career lows in points per game (12.4) and player efficiency rating (10.38).
Though it is unlikely, if Griffin can suit up and repeat his performance from their last matchup, the Pistons have a much better shot at making this a competitive contest.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers showed in their win against the Milwaukee Bucks a few weeks ago, and again on Thursday in their primetime win over the Denver Nuggets, that they are still the best team in the NBA because of their defense.
Anthony Davis and LeBron James stifled the Nuggets late, and the Lakers held Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray to a combined 33 points on 33 shots in a dominant 114-93 Lakers win.
If they are both available, Davis and James should be motivated to do the same thing to Griffin and Grant on Saturday to avenge their last loss.
The Lakers lead the league in:
🔒 Defensive rating (104.4)
🔒 Points allowed (103.6)
🔒 3-pointers allowed (10.7)
🔒 Free throw attempts allowed (17.5)
— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) February 5, 2021
The Lakers don’t have another game until Monday and didn’t play on Friday, so there may not be a need to rest one of them.
However, there also isn’t necessarily a need to have both of them available to win against a Pistons team that is the worst in the league and has gotten manhandled in their last three games.
The Lakers are easily the better team here, but I wouldn’t recommend betting on the Lakers at -14 unless both Davis and James are playing. If they play and Ellington remains out, I can see enough value for a small play on the Lakers at -14 or better.
I don’t love the value on heavy favorites like this very often, but Ellington’s absence would be significant, the Lakers are just that good with Davis and James, and the Pistons have been a dumpster fire this week.
Ellington (along with Grant) is one of two Pistons players shooting better than 37% on 3-pointers, and the Pistons will need him to score in order to cover.
Among players who have played more than 10 games this season and make at least two 3s per game, Ellington is second in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage at 49.5%. If he isn’t available, the Pistons don’t have anyone who can shoot anywhere nearly as accurately as him to space the floor for Grant.
Per Cleaning The Glass, the Pistons are 9.1 points per 100 possessions better with him on than off the court, so there will be value created whether he sits or plays.
On the other hand, the Pistons are just 0.8 points better per 100 possessions with Blake Griffin on than off the court, so his absence won’t be significant enough to find an edge.
James nearly had a triple-double in the first meeting with the Pistons as he tallied 22 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds. He started 7-for7 from the field but went ice cold as he missed 11 of his last 12 shots to end the game.
I expect him to shoot better this game, and if he plays while Davis is unavailable, I like the value on James at +550 on FanDuel to record a triple-double. If Davis plays, I wouldn’t bet this prop.
If Ellington plays while one or both of Davis and James sit, I like the value on the Pistons enough to play them at +14 or higher. If Ellington plays and both Davis and James play, wait until the Lakers take a lead before live betting on the Pistons at +17 or better live.
In each of their past two games, the Pistons have dug themselves huge holes but rallied to make the games competitive in the second half before losing. The Pistons are a bad team, but they won’t quit, and they have shown that they bring their best against the top teams in the NBA.