The NBA Odds opened with the Clippers listed at -3, but they are now sitting at -4 and even -4.5 at some betting sites. Which LA team should we back with our Friday night NBA Picks?
Lakers time running out
It’s a new year, and although the Lakers are 3-2 SU with Steve Nash back in the lineup, the room for error is still very slim. Their most recent loss has caused concern, as the Lakers were dominated by the 76ers at home.
Including tonight, the Lakers; next five games are all against Western Conference playoff teams. After tonight’s date with the Clippers, the Lakers play at home against Denver, then on the road in Texas against Houston and San Antonio on back-to-back nights. Then two days later they return to LA for their date with the Thunder.
The Lakers can get a nice win tonight to add to their resume, and I’m not sure about this, but honestly I can’t remember the last time the Clippers were favored over the Lakers before this season. They were slight favorites in their game at the beginning of the season, but before this season, it’s probably been at least seven or eight years since the Clippers were favored. There’s a research question for you, SBR Faithful!
Clippers big question
This team has answered almost every question in the book regarding championship ability. Even Kobe Bryant has called them legitimate championship contenders, and that’s actually news. In my eyes, they are one of the three best teams in the Western Conference right now, and definitely one of the top five best teams in the NBA.
My one issue with the Clippers is a concern that has been brought up before, and it was the main reason they got trounced by the Spurs last season in the playoffs. This team playing half court basketball scares me. Yes they have Chris Paul, but he can’t get his own shot and get everyone else shots too. The addition of Jamaal Crawford has been a major help for this team. He will help at shooting guard in crunch time, as will Chauncey Billups, who they didn’t have against the Spurs last season, and who hopefully will be back soon.
Griffin is still not a guy that can reliably put in post touches, and if the game gets into a half court game, another problem is the Clippers’ awful team free throw percentage. If the Lakers, or any team for that matter can slow the game down and dictate the pace, this team is beatable.
The Sharp Pick
I hate to say it, but I’m all over tailing the public in this one, and let’s hope we can get in on the NBA betting lines at the right price. At -4, I like the Clippers here. Their combination of speed and defensive toughness is exactly what beats the Lakers every night. Chris Paul is going to go off, and all of the Clippers’ wings should have solid games. Griffin and Deandre Jordan will offset the Lakers’ big mean, and Matt Barnes and Caron Cutler will do their duties of guarding Kobe Bryant well.
NBA Pick: Clippers -4 at 5Dimes