The Los Angeles Lakers struggled mightily with both Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder out of the lineup for four games—all of which they lost—but Schroder returned on Friday and helped lead the Lakeshow back into the win column with a 102-93 triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers. On Sunday evening they will look to keep the good times rolling with the Golden State Warriors coming to town.
Free Picks: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors
LeBron’s Lakers Get Back On Track Against Dubs (Season Betting Record: 48-45)
The Warriors are nothing to scoff at right now, though. Steph Curry and Draymond Green led the team to its first three-game winning streak of the season with their win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night, and Green has been especially potent passing the ball lately.
The fact that Golden State has been unable to sustain a streak of even three wins on the bounce until now does point to a lack of consistency, however. Have the Dubs really figured out their erratic issues? Kelly Oubre has definitely settled in and started shooting at a high clip since that whole debacle with his ex-girlfriend was resolved, but there’s still no consistency with Golden State’s depth players.
The same can be said about the Lakers’ bench, which is why they struggled so much in Schroder’s absence. But the German point guard is back now, and he picked up right where he left off in his return on Friday, putting up 22 points to help the Lakers to their first win in five games while also providing a much-needed defensive boost in the backcourt.
Golden State has struggled as an away underdog this season, going just 4-6 against the spread in those situations. On the flip side, though the Lakers have been a mediocre ATS team this season, they’ve still put up a 12-10 ATS record against Western Conference foes, including a 14-4 straight up record in their last 18 against games against the West. The Lakers have also been sparkling with Schroder in there this year, going 23-7 when he plays and 6-1 when he plays and Anthony Davis does not.
That hounding on-ball backcourt defense from Schroder is a big reason why we like the Lakers to cover their -4.0 spread at eye-popping +100 NBA odds, a tasty NBA pick if we ever saw one. Steph Curry won’t exactly be excited to see that Schroder is back in the lineup after the Brunswick, Germany native forced the Chef into an 8-for-22 shooting night the last time these two teams met.
Our second pick for this big time Western Conference matchup is also one of our best bets for today. Apart from Tom Thibodeau’s rejuvenated unit in New York, there is no better defense in the NBA than the Lakers, who have allowed just 106.1 points per game, second only to Thibs’ aforementioned Knickerbockers. The Lakers also boast the top defensive rating (105.8) in the league, but without the Brow, has the D still been dominant for L.A.?
Since AD first missed time with his calf/Achilles issue, the Lakers have had the fourth-best defensive rating (108.3) in the league, which is a slight drop, but guess which team has had the best defensive rating in those three weeks: Their Sunday evening opponents, Golden State, at 105.2. No team in the league has hit unders as often as the Lakers this season (65 percent) and the Warriors are just behind them in sixth (56 percent), which bodes well for our wager.
Three of the past four Warriors games have finished under 225 points, and 14 of L.A.’s past 15 non-overtime games have finished under that mark as well, which is why the under on this game’s 225.5 points total at -125 odds has to be one of the top picks for this NBA Sunday slate.
- Los Angeles is 14-4 SU in their last 18 against Western Conference opponents
- Golden State is 4-6 ATS as an underdog on the road this season
- Los Angeles has won 3 of the past 4 meetings
- The underhas hit in 5 of the past 6 Los Angeles games after a straight up win
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The Los Angeles Clippers will renew hostilities with the Dallas Mavericks, who they dispatched in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
The Denver Nuggets and the league’s presumptive NBA MVP will look to get off to a strong start against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1.
The Golden State Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies in the final play-in game, which will determine the Western Conference’s eighth seed.
The Washington Wizards will host the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night with the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference on the line.
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.