NBA Odds, Picks | Thunder vs Lakers Betting Preview

NBA Odds, Picks | Thunder vs Lakers Betting Preview article feature image

Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Giddey

  • The Los Angeles Lakers host the Oklahoma City Thunder in NBA action on Tuesday night.
  • OKC remains elite against the spread this season, while LA continues to struggle -- and lately has done so particularly on the defensive end.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including how to bet it.

Thunder vs. Lakers Odds

Thunder Odds+6.5
Lakers Odds-6.5
Time10 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will play the second game of a three-game road trip on Tuesday night when they travel to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers.

Oklahoma City enters this matchup in 12th place in the Western Conference at the time of writing, but just 1.5 games back of the No. 10 seed needed to make the play-in tournament.

The Lakers find themselves right behind the Thunder in the standings as the No. 13 seed, coming into this matchup with a 25-29 record.

The bottom of the Western Conference is crowded at the moment, but only three games separate the No. 6 seed and the No. 13 seed, so every game at this stage is crucial.

Last but not least, LeBron James is just 36 points away from passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Will that impact how this game plays out? Here are the odds and prediction for the matchup for Thunder vs Lakers.

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder haven't done anything spectacular this season as one of the younger teams in the NBA, but what this young squad has been able to do in 2023 has been rather impressive.

The Thunder have posted a 120.7 Offensive Rating since the new year began. That rating ranks first in the NBA in that timeframe, and it is a significant increase from their rating of 110.5 in the first 36 games.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been a huge catalyst for Oklahoma City's offensive success. In 48 games this season, he is averaging 31.0 points on 50.8% shooting, and since Jan. 1 those numbers have increased to 31.3 and 52.7%.

Gilgeous-Alexander has plenty of depth behind him as well. The Thunder have nine guys on the roster averaging at least 7.8 points per game this season, with Josh Giddey leading the charge behind SGA with 16.2 points per game. OKC has also gotten solid production from Lu Dort and rookie Jalen Williams, both of whom average double-digit points.

This Thunder squad is easily one of the deeper offensive units in the NBA, so it should come as no surprise that we now see them near the top of several offensive metrics.

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Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers have had a bumpy season up to this point, a season that has been defined by inconsistency.

That inconsistency has come to light in L.A.'s most recent two games. Last Thursday, the Lakers strung together a fourth quarter comeback to take down the Pacers 112-111, but that effort was followed up with a loss to the Pelicans where the Lakers surrendered 131 points.

Allowing 131 points certainly isn't the norm for the Lakers this season, but that game did reveal some glaring issues on the defensive end of the floor.

The Lakers have played 11 games dating back to January 16th, a span of time in which the team has posted a 117.9 Defensive Rating. That weak defense has allowed LA's opponents to average 120.82 points per game during that 11 game stretch, largely due to the fact that those opponents have shot over 47% from the floor in that time.

The Lakers' weakness on the defensive end in those 11 games has been in the painted area, where they allowed an average of 54.18 points per game from. That has been a common theme for L.A. all season, as it ranks 25th in opponent points per game in the paint (TeamRankings).

Thunder-Lakers Pick

We have one offense trending upward and one defense trending downward, and as a result I believe this is a good matchup to back the Thunder as underdogs.

Oklahoma City did play on Monday night against Golden State, but the Thunder have been one of the better teams to back against the spread all season long. The Thunder own a 32-19-1 (62.8%) against the spread record this season, the best ATS record in the NBA.

Additionally, the Thunder own a ATS record of 15-5-1 this season as a road underdog, a situation that they find themselves in for this matchup. OKC also ranks fourth in the NBA in points per game in the paint with 55.6, putting them in a great position to expose the Lakers' biggest defensive weakness.

The Lakers have too many question marks on defense right now while the Thunder are surging on the offensive end. I would play this spread down to six.

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