Our second dive into the NBA betting sphere didn’t go as planned. Portland showed up with over 120 points on the road against the Suns, but Phoenix didn’t play their part in going over the 218 Total.
That’s actually not accurate. The Suns completely cratered and lost by 48 points, at home, to a team missing their second best scorer.
The loss drops us to 0-1 on the year in our NBA picks, but we’re back on the prowl for a win as we approach Thursday night’s three-game schedule. There are two games propped up as likely blowouts, while the third is an interesting showdown at the Staples Center between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.
Due to the best spread on the board and some solid value both ways, that’s where we’ll hang our hat tonight. Let’s dig in:
Los Angeles Clippers (-200)
Los Angeles Lakers (+170)
The Clippers and Lakers are on even ground in two ways; they share the same stadium and they both have a lot of new pieces on their respective rosters.
I tend to favor the Clippers in this one, right off the bat. The main reason is they are not starting a rookie point guard and all of their fresh faces are established veterans.
Losing Chris Paul and J.J. Redick could easily cripple this franchise, but in a lot of ways, the Clippers could have actually gotten better. The offense used to run through Paul a lot, which was obviously usually great, but often it could also slow things down and create stagnation.
That should be less of an issue with these new-look Clippers, who brought in Patrick Beverley to defend, shoot and create. He’ll work with overseas star Milos Teodosic, who has already made a name for himself with his ability to set teammates up.
The Clips are all about Blake Griffin, though. He’s going to run this offense a good amount and he’ll attack the paint at will. He’s got Danilo Gallinari on the outside and DeAndre Jordan banging down low, too. On paper, the Clippers are actually a well-rounded team and even have depth guys like Austin Rivers, Sam Dekker and Lou Williams to provide extra scoring.
The Lakers have a lot of talent, but they’re not where the Clippers are yet. Yes, it’s possible Lonzo Ball erupts in his Lakers debut and guides L.A. to a win, but this team is still learning how to play together and as a whole is rough around the edges.
Brook Lopez needs to find his footing in this offense, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is out due to a suspension and Julius Randle (ribs) isn’t quite 100% to start the season.
In terms of talent and pace, these teams align for the best matchup of the night, however. The Clippers should see a slight uptick in pace now that Paul is out of town, while the formerly 4th most efficient offense could see a mild dip.
The Lakers were 24th in offensive efficiency a year ago but sported the 6th best pace. They’ll get more efficient and might even be faster than what we saw last season.
Of these two, though, the Clippers feel more cohesive, they have the more reliable star power and they also have more defensive upside going into the first game of the year. I do think the Lakers will show up and keep this close, so if you want to play with fire, taking the Lakers to beat the spread really isn’t that crazy.
We have to grind out wins sometimes in NBA betting, though, and taking the Clippers straight up feels like a good spot to do just that.
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