There are no locks in sports betting. This much I do know: It benefits the Los Angeles Lakers to lose as often as possible the rest of the regular season. Tanking is a dirty word, but it happens and I fully expect that to be the case in L.A.
Recently, my cohort Jordan Sharp wrote a story titled “How To Bet Tanking NBA Teams.” He did so before the Feb. 23 trade deadline. That’s relevant in this case regarding the Los Angeles Lakers.
Former Laker Magic Johnson is one of the great winners in NBA history. He’s on the Mount Rushmore of the league’s players ever, winning three MVP Awards and five championships. Johnson has also won at life from a business perspective as he has made tons more money in his off-court ventures than he did playing basketball. Among his holdings is a part ownership stake in the Dodgers.
Yet if you were to give Magic some truth serum, he would tell you that he wants the Lakers to lose as much as possible the rest of this season. Of course, Magic was put in charge of his former team by owner Jeanie Buss last week – she not only fired her brother as team president (how do you fire your brother if you both own the team?) but also GM Mitch Kupchak.
Johnson’s first big move was to trade the team’s best player, guard Lou Williams, to the Houston Rockets ahead of the Thursday’s trade deadline for Corey Brewer (to make salaries match) and a 2017 first-round pick. Obviously getting a first-rounder is nice, although it will be near the end of the round with Houston having the NBA’s third-best record, but this was all about weakening the Lakers for this season. Williams is a top Sixth Man of the Year candidate who was having the best season of his 12-year career, with highs in points (18.6 per game) and 3-point field goal percentage (.385) while with L.A.
It’s vital that the Lakers lose as often as possible the rest of the way, so keep that in mind when placing your NBA bets on their games. That’s because if L.A. gets a top three pick in the draft lottery, it keeps the pick. If not, the pick goes to the Philadelphia 76ers. In addition, the Lakers would owe the Orlando Magic (no relation) their unprotected 2019 first-rounder. That’s payment for the Dwight Howard trade. Should L.A. be in the top three, Orlando only gets a second-rounder in 2017 & ’18.
Lakers-Suns Upcoming Game Could Be Huge
The Lakers enter this week at 19-41 (27-32-1 ATS on NBA picks). They have been clobbered twice since dealing Williams. The Lakers have the third-worst record in the NBA. Brooklyn is going to finish with the league’s worst record; the Nets have to swap their first-round pick with Boston so they are up the creek. Phoenix is barely ahead of L.A. in the standings and that’s the team the Lakers need to finish behind.
That could make March 9 an important date on the Lakers’ schedule. They visit Phoenix that night in the teams’ final meeting of the season. The Suns lead the season series 2-1 and should they also win on March 9, that could be a crucial tiebreaker in L.A.’s favor if the teams finish tied in the standings. The Nets/Celtics have 25 percent chance of winning the lottery, which is May 16. The team with the second-worst record is at 19.9 percent and the third-worst at 15.6. Every little percentage helps when it comes to those ping-pong balls. Also, the team with the second-worst mark has a 55.8 percent chance of having a top-three pick. The third-worst is at 46.9 percent.
This week, the Lakers don’t leave Staples Center as they host Charlotte on Tuesday (actually a winnable game for L.A.), Boston on Friday and New Orleans on Sunday.Bet On NBA Futures At SBR's Top Sportsbooks