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Lakers vs. Warriors Preview: Target Over/Under in Primetime

Matt Moore breaks down the betting value in the NBA matchup on Saturday between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors.

Lakers vs. Warriors Odds

Lakers Odds +7.5
Warriors Odds -7.5
Over/Under 224.5
Time 8:30 p.m. ET
TV ABC
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Lakers … are in a bad spot. They’ve lost 11 of their last 16 games, were beaten by a Blazers team much closer to a G-League team than a contender and didn’t make a move after the deadline.

Then their two stars refuted (through sources) the GM who said they were consulted on not making a move:

It’s a lot of this:

The Warriors, meanwhile, really are fine. They’ve dropped two in a row but won nine-in-a-row before that. They’re without Draymond Green, which makes them worse, but they’ve had enough to beat bad teams, which the Lakers are at this point.

Golden State enters the Saturday showdown a 7-point favorite at most books. Can Los Angeles get a win to boost them into the stretch run? Will Golden State deliver another humiliation?

Let’s bet on Lakers vs. Warriors.

Los Angeles Lakers

Carmelo Anthony is out, Dwight Howard is probable, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James are questionable. (Westbrook said, with a serious face, his back is hurt because he’s not used to sitting so much after benched down the stretch in recent games; again, things are going great for the Lakers right now.)  Anthony Davis is day-to-day as he has been since the beginning of time.

The Lakers enter Saturday with the 25th-ranked offense and 17th-ranked defense adjusted for schedule at DunksAndThrees.com.

Los Angeles doesn’t have one specific issue they have to address. It has about 10.

As for this matchup, it has some conceptual advantages that haven’t shown to work. The Warriors primarily switch in pick-and-roll situations. Without Green, Davis should be able to beast, especially if the Warriors play small-ball lineups with Jonathan Kuminga instead of going big with Kevon Looney.

But the Lakers are just 20th this season vs. switching defenses per possession. They’re also 20th in 3-pointers made per 100 possessions, while Golden State is second. There’s a big math advantage to this matchup for Golden State.

This should be feasting time for Davis. When he shoots against a switching defense, the Lakers score 1.2 points per possession. He beasts. He’s only generated a shot on 19 out of 140 switching possessions, 13.6% of the time.

So if the Lakers come into this matchup with a mindset to get Davis going, he should have a big game and his props are going to hit over. I just don’t know if you can trust the Lakers to actually have that kind of approach in a regular-season matchup.

Defensively, the Lakers also switch a ton, more than any other coverage. The Warriors, who are not a great offensive team this season (13th in adjusted offensive rating), are great against the switch, ninth league-wide. That efficiency suffers without Green, going from 1.01 to .970, but that’s good enough, and better than the Lakers’ .911 mark vs. switch overall. (All switch data is courtesy of Second Spectrum data provided to Action Network.)

The Lakers’ biggest issue in this game will be keeping up with the Warriors’ offense, which, given that offense isn’t Golden State’s strength, is a pretty bad sign.

Golden State Warriors

No Green, James Wiseman or Andre Iguodala for Golden State Saturday night.

The Warriors do have Otto Porter Jr. as a matchup on James. You can’t really match up with LeBron, but it’s good not to have to surrender size or speed to him from the get-go since he’s going to win the matchup anyway.

When matched up vs. Looney, Davis has a 44% eFG%, which is 27th percentile. It’s not many matchups, but it does signal that Davis doesn’t typically beast vs. Looney.

The Lakers do have pretty good defenders at point of attack, but against Steph Curry, it doesn’t typically matter. If Curry’s hot, you’re toast. If he’s cold, as he has been for much of this season, you’re good.

Klay Thompson’s return here matters, as well. The Lakers will have to find someone to hide Westbrook on (when he plays, so outside of the closing minutes). Either Splash Brother is a tough option, and if they move Westbrook to Jordan Poole, that might be worse with how Poole slashes.

Lakers-Warriors Pick

I make this line Warriors -9.2 based on full-season numbers, but Green is worth at least three points to the spread, and especially in this matchup.

I can’t find a good angle to play on the side, outside of putting the Warriors in a moneyline parlay.

I do like the under, however. The Warriors’ defense has shown success vs. Davis and offense is the weakness for both teams. Even with Golden State’s overall success vs. switching defense, Curry’s been inconsistent enough to think it’s possible he has a down shooting night and Thompson has shot 42% from the field and 37% from three this season.

A high-volume, low-efficiency game from Davis is likely so his points-plus-rebound prop has value (if he plays).

If Davis and/or LeBron doesn’t play, then there’s value on the Warriors no matter what the number moves to.

Pick: Under 224.5