Lakers vs. Nets NBA Odds & Picks: Target Nets Total With Durant (April 10)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets.
- No LeBron James, no Anthony Davis, no James Harden -- injuries have put a slight damper Saturday's primetime matchup.
- Brandon Anderson details where there is still some betting value in tonight's matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets.
Lakers vs. Nets Odds
|Moneyline||+500 / -700|
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via PointsBet|
For what feels like the bazillionth time since the All-Star Break, we've got yet another marquee matchup on tap without some of the biggest stars.
With March Madness in the books, this is our first Saturday NBA primetime game on the schedule as the regular season hits its final stretch, and you know the TV execs were drooling over this one when all parties were healthy. LeBron James! Anthony Davis! James Harden! Kevin Durant! Kyrie Irving!
Welp. Can I interest you in two out of five?
The Los Angeles Lakers continue to scrap for any win while their superstars heal, and hey, at least we got Durant back for the Brooklyn Nets in this one. So what should we expect?
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have played 10 games this season now without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and the results have been predictably rough.
Without their two stars, the Lakers are 4-6 this season with wins against the Cavaliers, Kings, Magic, and Raptors — not a single postseason team among them. LA is also 4-6 against the spread in those games.
The Lakers are trying hard, they're just not particularly good.
LA's defense has been the best in the NBA this season when healthy. LA's rebounding edge has also fallen off without James and Davis, though the addition of Andre Drummond should help some to that end.
Without their stars, the defense has still been solid (No. 2 in Defensive Rating), but the offense has cratered, looking less the like the Lakers we know and more like the New York Knicks. The Lakers are scoring just 101.3 points per 100 in those 10 games, with 101 points or fewer in over half of them.
The under is 7-3 in the past 10 Lakers games without their superstars, going under the total by an average of 7.3 points, according to Bet Labs.
If that's not bad enough, James and Davis aren't the only two Lakers who may miss this one. Kyle Kuzma is also listed as questionable with a calf injury, and so are Marc Gasol and Alex Caruso. It's bad that the Lakers might miss those three and even worse that those role players are needed as much as they are currently.
The Nets aren't exactly whole either with Harden sitting out. But what a luxury it is when you can lose one MVP candidate for a week and find another one with two months rest ready to step into his place.
Durant played 19 minutes off the bench in his return, scored 17 points, shot 5-of-5 from the field, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists. That would be the best game of the season for a lot of players. For Durant, it's just a warm-up after two months away.
Believe it or not, Durant and Irving have played only eight games together without Harden.
The Nets are 4-4 in such games and only 3-5 against the spread. That includes straight-up losses to the Hornets, Hawks, and Wizards (twice!) early in the season when Brooklyn was more of a punchline for bad defense than a title favorite. The Nets had lost five straight ATS with Durant and Irving but no Harden until their runaway win against the Pelicans in Durant's return.
Unlike the shorthanded Lakers, this version of the shorthanded Nets has shed the defense for offense. In those eight games, the Nets have scored at least 122 points in six, averaging 125 points per game with an average game total of 242.2. It's like they basically admit they don't want to play any defense but know they can outscore you anyway, so who cares?
So what happens when the very stoppable force (the Lakers offense) meets the extremely movable object (the Nets defense)?
With Durant and Irving but no Harden, the Nets fail to cover the spread more than half the time, but they're double-digit favorites here. Brooklyn puts up a big number every night and gives up nearly as many points.
The Lakers have been even worse without James and Davis but at least give it the ol' college try — though they too fail to cover more often than not due to poor offense.
This version of the Nets sees game totals averaging 242 points. This version of the Lakers plays in games averaging below 210 points. Heck, I'd tell you to stay away from this game entirely but Durant is finally back and it's a joy to watch the man play basketball, so at least there's that.
We know the Nets won't defend a ton, but don't know if the Lakers will score when given those opportunities. We know the Lakers will slow things down and defend but also that Durant and Irving will score anyway.
With this total sort of stuck in the middle, I'm going with the only thing I'm confident in, and that's the Nets scoring. I'll take the Brooklyn team over and trust Irving and Durant to get me enough points.
Pick: Nets Over 116.5 Team Total