NBA Betting: Could Lousy Lakers Actually Cover Against Spurs?

Matthew Jordan

Friday, January 22, 2016 2:51 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 22, 2016 2:51 PM UTC

Is the biggest mismatch by far on the NBA schedule Friday night as the San Antonio Spurs visit the Western Conference's worst team in the Los Angeles Lakers. Who will be our NBA pick?

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NBA Picks: Lakers +15.5 & Under 198
Best Line Offered: at Bet365


Spurs Look Dominant
San Antonio (37-6) won its 12th straight with predictable ease on Thursday night, pummeling the sorry Suns in Phoenix 117-89. On the day Kawhi Leonard learned he would be an NBA All-Star starter for the first time (well-deserved), he had 21 points and a team-best plus/minus of plus-24. Ray McCallum was the only other starter in double figures with 11 points but the San Antonio bench contributed a ton and played heavy minutes.

The lone Spurs starter to play more than 22 minutes was McCallum. And he started because point guard Tony Parker sat out with a hip injury. I wouldn't expect to see Parker in this game, either. Spurs don't need him to beat the Lakers. Coach Gregg Popovich gave Tim Duncan a DNP-OLD on Thursday so he should be back in there Friday. Normally I might think Manu Ginobili could get the second of a back-to-back off here but he only played six minutes against the Suns.

The Spurs are a spectacular 30-13 against the  spread on NBA odds this season and 19-23-1 'over/under.'


Lakers On Pace For Fewer Wins Than Last Season
Los Angeles (9-35) has slid to the bottom of the West standings on a four-game losing streak  -- its seventh losing streak of at least four games this season -- and it also has easily the worst point differential in the conference at minus-9.9. Not only have the Lakers lost four straight, they have done so by at least 17 points in each, not topping 98 points or not allowing less than 109. L.A . last played Wednesday at home against the Kings and was rolled 112-93, Sacramento's sixth straight win in the series. Kobe Bryant had 15 points, with just two after halftime in 31 minutes. Kobe probably will be listed as questionable the rest of the season as he's still dealing with some Achilles' soreness and a shoulder problem. L.A. does play again Saturday night, but that's on the road at  Portland. Thus I'd expect Bryant to suit up vs. the Spurs but maybe not even travel to Portland. Kobe has played in 36 games this year, already topping last season.

One small bright spot this season has been the play of rookie forward Larry Nance Jr., but he has missed the past two games with a knee injury and isn't expected back on Friday. Nance is averaging 7.9 points and 7.6 rebounds this month in 23.4 minutes per night. Julius Randle, the team's 2014 first-round pick, will continue to start in Nance's place. He's struggling with his shot but a good rebounder, averaging 9.5 this month. 

This game takes place on the 10th anniversary of the second-highest-scoring output in NBA history as Kobe had 81 points in a Jan. 22, 2006, win over the visiting Toronto Raptors. Bryant was 28-for-46 from the field, 7-for-13 from 3-point range and 18-for-20 from the line. I'd be willing to bet Kobe doesn't even score a third that many on Friday night.

The Lakers are 18-26 ATS on NBA picks this season and 19-24-1 O/U.


Season Series
San Antonio won the lone matchup thus far 109-87 at home on Dec. 11. The Spurs outscored the Lakers 58-38 in the second half. LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Leonard also had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Spurs' bench outscored the Lakers' by 30. D'Angelo Russell had one of the best games of his rookie season for the Lakers, putting up 24 points, six rebounds and six assists. Kobe had 12 points. The Spurs have won two straight in the series overall and three in a row in Los Angeles.


Betting Verdict
No Parker, and Spurs could opt to rest another starter or two in the second of a back-to-back. Take the points, go 'under.' The Lakers are 7-3 ATS in their past 10 home games vs. teams with a winning record. The 'under' is 9-2 in L.A.'s past 11 at home. The 'under' is 12-4 in the past 16 meetings in Los Angeles.

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