Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Dec. 20:
7-7 ATS, 0-1 ML (minus-1.15 units), 6-3 Totals
Friday, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Free NBA Pick: Under
Best Line Offered: Bookmaker
So here we are again taking the “under” with the Los Angeles Lakers. It worked the last time we tried it. And the time before that. The “under” is 18-12-1 for the Lakers on the season, and 14-7 since they added Tyson Chandler and his epic beard to the roster. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
Well, the “over” is 5-3 in their last eight games. And on Friday, the Lakers will host the New Orleans Pelicans, who have the “over” at 17-15 thus far. But we’re still recommending the “under” for your NBA picks – and it’s because of the Pelicans as much as the home side. Let’s do this.
Speaking of broke, New Orleans has been losing players left and right. Forwards Nikola Mirotic (plus-1.5 OBPM) and Julius Randle (plus-2.3 OBPM) are day-to-day with sprained ankles, joining point guard Elfrid Payton on the shelf. The “under” is 3-1 for the Pels since Mirotic went down on December 10, and 8-3 in their past 11 games; the “over” was 4-1 to start the season, before Payton broke his left pinky.
Anthony Davis (plus-4.9 OBPM) is having an MVP-quality season, but he has been forced to shoulder more of the burden without Mirotic and Randle by his side. And on Wednesday, Davis had all sorts of issues against the Milwaukee Bucks. Already dealing with some kind of stomach virus, Davis proceeded to tweak his ankle; he made multiple trips to the dressing room during the game. He’ll presumably play on Friday – but what about the other two big men? The NBA odds on this matchup might fluctuate until more is known about their status.
Down With The Sickness
The Lakers have some personnel issues of their own. SG Brandon Ingram (minus-3.7 OBPM) has been out since December 5 with a sprained left ankle, which happens to coincide with this “over” run in Los Angeles. Good news, though: Ingram has been called up from his rehab assignment and could be ready to go Friday night.
Also getting the call: PG Rajon Rondo (minus-1.3 OBPM), who has sat out more than a month with a broken right hand. Getting both those guys back in the L.A. lineup would significantly improve their chances of staying “under.” Same with center JaVale McGee (plus-3.8 DBPM), who’s listed as day-to-day after missing back-to-back games with a stomach virus of his own. ‘Tis the season. As always, pay close attention to Friday’s shoot-around to see who’s likely to play, and if you like the opening total, put the “under” in your pipe and smoke it.