LeBron Can Lift Lakers Only So Much, So Pick 'Under' Victory Total

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 4:52 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018 4:52 PM UTC

The Lakers’ return to glory hit the hyper-drive button this offseason with the signing of LeBron James. However, the West is stacked, and Los Angeles plays in the same division as the defending champs.

Lakers' 2018-19 Season Win TotalFree NBA Pick: Under 48.5 Wins (-125)Best Line Offered: Bovada

2017-18 Record: 35-47
2017-18 ATS Record: 44-38
2018-19 Season Win Total (Bovada): 48.5
Odds To Make Playoffs (Bovada): -450
Odds To Win Division (BetOnline): +900
Odds To Win Western Conference (BetOnline): +600
Odds To Win NBA Championship (BetOnline): +1000

ATS Outlook

When LeBron James went to Miami to team with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the ATS markets went crazy. For that entire regular and postseason leading up to the loss against the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals, the Heat went 52-49-2 ATS. However, they were 12-8-1 ATS in the playoffs that season, and we could see a similar pattern with the Lakers this season.

Any team that has James on it for the first time (let alone with a bunch of guys he has never played with) is going to struggle to begin the season. I would not be surprised to see the Lakers be a great fade ATS, especially early in the season. It happened when James was in Miami when the East was quickly in decline, so in a much more talented Western Conference from top to bottom, we need to temper expectations for the Lakers this season both SU, ATS, and in the grand scheme of competing for a championship.

Outside of James, the volatility is high on this squad, and it starts with their ability to score. After James, the scoring load will likely fall on young and unproven players, as well as a bench unit crowded with veterans who could either flourish or fail. That being said, this team has some good small-ball potential, making them a real threat to almost any team not named Golden State.

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Why small ball is the best approach for LeBron James and the Lakers (by @BenGolliver and @AndrewSharp) https://t.co/kzF0Jmtzl8 pic.twitter.com/jlpjfYdNfL

— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) October 3, 2018
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How Can They Dethrone the Warriors?

Unless we are talking about the 2019-20 season when the Lakers will have probably spend a boatload of money on bringing in another star to pair with James, this season the Lakers do not have what it takes to make it to the NBA Finals. L.A. may be the second best team in the West, I don’t doubt that. I also don’t doubt that L.A. can make it to a Western Conference Finals showdown between them and the Warriors. However, I think that is the ceiling for this team.

With a potentially healthy DeMarcus Cousins added to an already dominant team, the Warriors are going to three-peat this season. Even James, as good as he is, will not be able to stop them. It will more than likely be a Herculean effort in a potential Western Conference Finals (see James’ performance in the 2014-15 NBA Finals) for LeBron, but the Warriors have one more season where they are the team to beat.

That being said, the Lakers have a ton of upside, and it starts with their season win total. James is good enough to carry this young squad to the playoffs, so the question is how good are the rest of the Lakers? In my opinion they are the fourth- or fifth-best team right now, but getting to 49 wins is going to be hard in this conference.

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