Free Picks: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Clippers vs Lakers NBA
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Staples Center

The Los Angeles Clippers finally overtook their crosstown rivals, the Lakers, in the Western Conference standings and they remain a slim half-game ahead despite the Clips losing their last two contests. If the Clippers can hold off this ragtag group of Lakers in the Battle for L.A. on Sunday night, they can start to put some distance between themselves and the defending champs in the West’s regular season hierarchy.

Clippers, Lakers Clash In Battle For L.A. At Staples (Season Betting Record: 74-83)

It has now been seven games since LeBron James joined his sidekick Anthony Davis in the Lakers’ training room with an ankle injury. The Lakers were dominated in three straight losses to begin that stretch but have picked up the pieces and emerged with wins in three of their past four outings.

Lakers fans must be excited to see that kind of success after it seemed like they might not win a single game without James early in his stay on the injury report. To put that all in perspective, however, the Lakers’ three wins came against three of the worst outfits in the NBA in the Orlando Magic, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Sacramento Kings.

Without the King and the Brow, the complementary pieces have struggled against the stronger teams in the association, dropping their last four in a row against the spread against competition that had a straight up record above .500. The Lakers are also 1-4 ATS in their last five games as the underdog, and have an 0-4 ATS mark in their last four when they are dogs of over five points.

The Clippers have their top two guns available, but they’ve continued to struggle with chemistry and consistency, losing to a gutted Magic team before falling to a foe they know well, the Denver Nuggets, in another embarrassing performance most recently. Surely, Kawhi Leonard and company will be looking to avenge those losses and keep themselves above the Lakers in the standings.

Not to mention the pride factor: If Kawhi and Paul George can’t even beat the Lakers without Davis and James, what chance do they have when those two inevitably return from their afflictions? And while the Lakers have struggled with good teams recently, the Clippers have gone 4-1 ATS in their last five against teams with winning records. They’re also 4-1 ATS in their last five against opponents that scored 100+ points in their previous game.

Tyronn Lue’s boys have taken four of the past five meetings ATS, and we’re going to buy up their NBA point spread to a more manageable -9.5 points at decent -139 NBA odds for the first of our NBA picks on the Battle for L.A.

Another wager we love for this clash as one of our best bets for today is the over on Leonard’s puny 24.5 points prop at acceptable -137 NBA odds. Leonard has not been shy about what he feels has been a lack of inconsistency within the team throughout this season. Their last ten games are a perfect microcosm of what he was saying, with the team following up a six-game winning streak with that pair of duds against Denver and Orlando.

Leonard should and will be at the forefront of the Clippers’ bounce back, and that will start with what should be a beatdown of their crosstown rivals on Sunday night. Leonard has scored 25+ in four of his past six games and has been averaging 25.9 points per game for the season, which would give us a nice cushion on our 24.5 point prop.

The Klaw hasn’t seen 30 points in a game in his last 13 straight outings, which is his longest such cold streak since February of 2016. There is much talk about Leonard being overrated and/or his body breaking down, and getting back to that 30-point plateau is a good way to start silencing those doubters. One would also think that the man with the best chuckle in the NBA would simply be due for a 30-piece after so long.

Stats

  • Lakers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games against winning teams
  • Clippers are 4-1 in their last 5 games against winning teams
  • Clippers are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings
  • Kawhi Leonard has scored 25+ points in 4 of his past 6 games

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Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve. Follow Alex on Twitter

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