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New Year’s Day NBA Odds & Picks for Lakers vs. Spurs: Back Hot Start Los Angeles’ Top Guns (Friday, Jan.1)

New Year’s Day NBA Odds & Picks for Lakers vs. Spurs: Back Hot Start Los Angeles’ Top Guns (Friday, Jan.1) article feature image

Ronald Cortes/Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

  • The Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs face off Friday for the second time this week in NBA action.
  • Will the Lakers start the year off on the right foot or will the Spurs win and split this back-to-back set?
  • Joe Dellera previews the matchup and delivers his betting pick below.

Lakers vs. Spurs Odds

Lakers Odds -7 [BET NOW]
Spurs Odds +7 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -286 / +235 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 230.5 [BET NOW]
Time 8 p.m. ET
Odds as of Friday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

The Lakers and Spurs run it back after playing last year (hah!) just two days ago where the Lakers emerged victorious 121-107. Both of these teams look to start the year off on the right foot, but let’s dive in and find some value.

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Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James has been listed on the injury report with a lingering ankle injury, so be sure to check his status before this game using our FantasyLabs tool. That said, he looked fine two days ago when he posted 26 points, five rebounds, and eight assists as he logged his 1000th consecutive double-digit scoring game, the most in NBA history.

The Lakers have the best Net Rating in the NBA so far this season (+11.5) heading into Thursday’s slate of games, per NBA Advanced Stats. They’ve done this by getting off to hot starts as their starting lineup has a +23.7 point differential lead by a 72.1% Effective Field Goal percentage and by limiting opponent’s second chance points as they have excelled on the defensive glass, per Cleaning the Glass.

One problem the Lakers have had this season is they turn the ball over quite often, 16.6% of their possessions. Ordinarily, this is something that would come back to haunt a team; however, they rank 10th in defending transition opportunities.

In the last game, the Lakers turned the ball over 17 times, but the Spurs were only able to turn that into 11 points. Another good thing for the Lakers, it’s not their starting lineup that’s been turning the ball over, as they only turn it over on 14% of their possessions, good for 90th percentile of all NBA lineups, per Cleaning the Glass.

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs played last game without LaMarcus Aldridge, and he is listed as questionable with a sore left knee. Derrick White is making progress after toe surgery, and it’s just been confirmed that he will be available to play in this matchup and make his season debut. Check back in periodically to confirm both Aldridge’s and White’s status (which may include minutes restrictions).

When Aldridge plays, the Spurs’ starting lineup has a -21.7 point differential, per Cleaning the Glass. When he’s replaced by Jakob Poeltl, the Spurs’ starters are just a -3.3. Aldridge is an excellent NBA player, but for whatever reason the Spurs are just worse with him.

This season all lineups with Aldridge are -19 points while all lineups with Poeltl are +23.6. Some of this might have to do with the Spurs actual starters and how the reserves generally get to play other team’s benches, but Aldridge’s status is definitely something to keep an eye on. If he’s available, it almost makes the Spurs “worse.”

Lakers-Spurs Pick

The Lakers are poised to sweep the Spurs in this back to back set, and although this game opened at Lakers -7, it’s since moved down to Lakers -5.5.

One question that still remains is whether or not Aldridge will play. Poeltl and Aldridge play at a similar Pace this season. Poeltl is at 103.18 while Aldridge is a tick faster at 104.66, per NBA Advanced Stats. The addition of Derrick White should provide not only a spark, but an overall uptick in Pace. Last season, the Spurs played over 2 possessions per game faster with him on the court.

The Lakers’ starters versus the Spurs’ starters is quite the mismatch. While the Lakers’ starters are an elite unit, the Spurs’ starters leave much to be desired. If Poeltl starts instead of Aldridge, I will look to only play a total, but if Aldridge starts it will be all systems go.

Pick: Lakers 1Q -1.5, | Lakers 1Q over 30

[Bet the Lakers at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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