The Los Angeles Lakers have not been whole for some time, not since Anthony Davis first went down on February 14th, and with LeBron James out until at least May, they will have to wait a little while longer. They are getting there, however, with Davis expected to make his long-awaited return on Wednesday night in Texas against the Dallas Mavericks after two months sitting out with a right calf strain.
Free Picks: Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Luka Doncic, Mavs Host Lakers In Anthony Davis’ Return (Season Betting Record: 88-92)
A certain level of rust should be expected for Anthony Davis in his first game back since February 14th, but AD is still an elite talent on both ends so even a rusty version will be a big lift for this Lakers team. Davis does so much more than just score the ball, especially on the defensive end, so you can expect him to have a significant and positive impact on this game for his team no matter what.
The Brow is also likely to be on a minutes restriction considering how long it’s been since he played at live game speed. Nonetheless, you can bet that guys like Montrezl Harrell and Andre Drummond will be psyched to see their comrade back in the frontcourt, attracting all of the opposing defense’s attention. Drummond in particular has struggled, so maybe a little more room to operate will help the recent addition finally find his offensive rhythm.
Dallas will be returning to American Airlines Center to take on the Lakers less than 24 hours after hosting the Detroit Pistons there in a win. Rick Carlisle’s group hasn’t been great in these situations this season, dropping seven of 11 games against the spread when they’re playing on the second leg of a back-to-back.
They’re also 6-8 ATS when they’re playing with a rest disadvantage, so the Lakers coming into this clash on two days’ rest doesn’t bode well for the Mavs. L.A. just so happens to be very good when playing on two or three days’ rest, putting up a 4-2 ATS mark in those situations while also going 8-4 ATS when they’re hooping with the rest advantage such as they will have on Thursday night.
Luka Doncic and company have also had a lot of trouble finding success against the top defenses in the association, going just 3-7 straight up in games against the top five teams in opponent scoring average this season. Even without LeBron and AD, the Lakers defense has remained suffocating, so there’s no reason to expect a lesser performance on that end whether the stars are out or not.
Dallas, currently sitting just a game and a half behind the Portland Trail Blazers for the sixth seed in the Western Conference, have not been great against the six teams ahead of them in the standings either, going just 6-10 straight up against those elite squads this season.
The Lakers have been dominant in this particular matchup over the past several years, winning nine of the past ten matchups, including the last three in a row. Apart from the Phoenix Suns, who sit in second place in the West, the Lakers have the best road record in the league this year, going 18-10 as the away team. Meanwhile Dallas has been the fifth-worst home team during this campaign, going 10-17 at the AAC.
It’s tough to predict exactly how Davis will come out of the blocks with his shooting stroke, but his mere presence will no doubt give his teammates heart to come out and play a tough game. The Lakers are sitting at a +4.5 NBA point spread right now, but we figured the team will be hyped up enough to go out there and get the Brow a win in his return, so we’re taking L.A.’s moneyline at lovely +148 NBA odds as our favorite NBA pick for this matchup.
Also helping our case for our top pick here is the head-to-head results for the biggest stars on each side. Doncic and Davis have taken the court on opposite sides eight times in their careers, and Davis’ squad has come out on the winning side in six of those meetings.
- Los Angeles is 4-0 SU on the first game of a road trip of 3+ games this season
- Dallas is 4-7 ATS playing on no rest this season
- Los Angeles has won 9 of the last 10 meetings
- Dallas is 10-17 ATS at home this season
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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.
LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will host Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in a play-in clash on Wednesday night at Staples.
The Memphis Grizzlies will host the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday in the No. 9 vs. No. 10 contest as part of the West’s play-in tournament.
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.