We know how bad the Lakers have been all season, but this appears to be a good spot for them at home against the young Magic. Let's examine the NBA betting odds closer.
It's not very often you see the Lakers favored in any instance, but such is the case tonight at home versus Orlando. Our NBA odds show LA giving away three points to the road team inside Staples Center, and we'll have to see if those lines shift at all leading up until tipoff.
It''s a pretty interesting meeting here in terms of the total. The Magic have been decent defensively but have really struggled to put the ball in the hoop, while the Lakers have been on the other end of the spectrum. Right now, the O/U is trading at 201.5.
Los Angeles Lakers
Even the return of Kobe Bryant wasn't enough to stop the Lakers from getting completely torn apart by Chris Paul and the Clippers two nights ago. It was a one-sided game pretty much from the start, with Doc Rivers' team racing out to an early lead and never looking back in the eventual 114-89 win.
After taking some time to rest, Kobe returned but really struggled throughout, scoring only four points on 2-of-12 shooting, though he did chip in with eight rebounds and seven assists (and six turnovers!). It wasn't exactly the kind of impact the Black Mamba wanted to make, but one has to think he'll fare much better tonight in a better matchup against Orlando.
Following the loss to the Clippers, the Lakers have now lost three of their last four and are sitting at 11-25 overall. Yes, it's been another miserable campaign for this storied franchise, and there's little reason for optimism that things are going to turn around at any point this season, barring some kind of blockbuster trade.
Ahead of tonight's contest, the Magic have dropped four straight games, as they've lost to the Nets,Pistons and Hornets at home and to Denver on the road. It's definitely been a tough stretch for this young Orlando team, and they've still got a ways to go before they finish this trip that will also see them play the Trail Blazers and Bulls following this trip to LA.
In Wednesday night's close loss to the Nuggets, the Magic put up a good fight but just couldn't make the necessary plays down the stretch. Nikola Vucevic had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Victor Oladipo had 16 points, six boards and three assists, with Tobias Harris, Evan Fournier and Andrew Nicholson also hit double figures in the narrow defeat.
Now Orlando comes up against an LA team that's also desperate for a win, meaning we should be seeing a very competitive game tonight. Kobe doesn't figure to struggle like he did against the Clippers the other night, and we're having a hard time seeing anyone on the Magic who will be able to keep him in check. That being said, the Lakers have been awful defensively, so Orlando should be able to be more efficient than normal when it comes to scoring the basketball.
While it's not saying much, the Lakers have been more competitive at home than on the road this season, and we anticipate them stepping up and getting a rare win here.
Orlando has dropped four straight and doesn't appear to be on the same page out there on the court right now. We think LA can take advantage and generate enough offense to outlast Oladipo and company on their way to a win and ATS cover.
With your NBA picks for Friday night, add the Lakers as small favorites in hopes they'll notch a victory for the home fans. Kobe should be able to bounce back with a much effort and we look for him to set the tone for the favored side. Good luck!
NBA Pick: Los Angeles Lakers -3 at 5Dimes