By: Trent Pruitt (@trentbets)
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Spread: LAL +8 (-103) | LAC -8 (-103)
Money Line: LAL +280 | LAC -351
Total: 211 (O -109, U -109)
Tip: 10:00 ET | Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA
I’m taking my talents to the hardwood tonight in a marquee matchup between the Lakers and Clippers out in La-La-Land! Both squads have lost three out of four games so they’ll be looking to bounce back tonight as the regular season comes to a close and the playoffs get going. Let’s get into this one and where I’m laying my money tonight!
Los Angeles Lakers (37-28)
The Lake Show currently resides in the sixth spot of the Western Conference with a 37-28 record but they’ve gone just 3-7 over their last ten games. They’re 11th in field goal percentage (47.3%), 21st in 3-point percentage (35.3%), 23rd in points scored (109 ppg), and rank 16th in rebounding (44.3 rpg). Not what you’d expect from the reigning champs but with the injuries they’ve amassed over the season they’re likely glad to be in their current spot. Plus, with the quick turn around from the title, I’m sure Los Angeles doesn’t really care about the regular season as long as they make the playoffs with a top 6 seed.
The Lakers will be without Lebron James on Thursday night with an ankle sprain and they’ll also be missing Denis Schroder with an illness. That leaves it up to Anthony Davis (21.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.0 apg) and Kyle Kuzma (12.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.8 apg) to try and get it done.
Los Angeles Clippers (44-22)
The Clips broke a three-game losing streak when they bested the Raptors on Tuesday night 105-100. They’re 0-5 against the spread over their last five games and 6-4 straight up over their last 10. L.A. ranks fifth in field goal percentage (48.2%), first from downtown (41.7%), 10th in points per game (114), and 17th in rebounding (44.2 rpg).
Individually, it’s Kawhi Leonard leading the charge offensively with 25.3 ppg and Paul George isn’t too far behind him at 23.6 ppg. Marcus Morris Sr. has been exceptional from deep, cashing 47.3% of shots behind the arc. George is hitting 41.8% from three and Kawhi is at 39.7%. And another area where the Clippers excel is with free throws where they rank first overall at 83.5%.
Final Analysis & Best Bet
I would’ve loved to grab the Clippers at -6.5 where they opened but I missed it, unfortunately. I’ll still take Kawhi Leonard and the boys at -8 (-103) for a unit though. Not having Lebron and Schroder are huge factors both on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Anthony Davis is elite and will get his points but he’s not going to put up 50+ (hopefully). I see him having a nice game but the 10th most efficient defense of the Clippers should be able to handle the rest of the Lakers’ role players. I’m also going to lock in the under 211 (-109) for a unit. These teams are both tremendous defensively (LAL 1st, LAC 10th) and even without Lebron and Schroder, the Lakers are still capable of getting stops. It should be a slower paced game with each team preferring not to run the court too quickly (LAL 15th in pace at 100.9, LAC 24th at 99.0). Ultimately, the Clippers are the better team here and I believe their ability to hit free throws down the stretch will help us hit the number. Take the under and the Clippers to cover tonight in the Battle of L.A. I’ll say we’re in for a 109-97 game.