The battle of Los Angeles resumes as the Lakers host the Clippers. These teams have rarely played each other at full strength for the last few years so this is a highly anticipated game.
The basketball world was very unimpressed with the Lakers in their first game and they won’t have a much easier time tonight against this healthy Clippers team. Let’s break down the NBA odds for this game.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Thursday, October 20, 2022 – 10:00 PM EDT at Crypto.com Arena
Lakers Need to Find Answers Quick
The line for this game opened at Clippers -3 and has been steamed up to -5.5 at most of the top-rated sportsbooks. The Lakers' opening game has a lot to do with that line movement.
Even though these teams share arenas, the Lakers will technically be making their home debut tonight. When analyzing what's wrong with the Lakers, there's one thing that really stood out in that first game.
This team has no bench at all and even some of their starters are below average.
That means LeBron has to carry this team which is what's always expected of him, but the man is playing in his 20th season and it's really unfair to expect him to carry a subpar roster to a title.
The one positive from the first game is that Anthony Davis looked like his old self. If he can stay healthy which is one of the most unlikely narratives in the league, then LeBron just might have enough to carry this team to the playoffs. Notice I didn't say championship because this roster, as presently constructed, is not a title contender.
As for Russell Westbrook, that's an entire story in itself and it remains to be seen how long he's in a Lakers uniform. What's clear is he doesn't want to be there and the team wants him gone despite how much new head coach Darvin Ham tries to convince us otherwise.
Clippers Have All the Right Pieces
Much like Anthony Davis, health is the major concern for the Clippers' two superstars. They are injured way too often and if we're keeping count, bringing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to the Clippers has been a disaster so far.
As much as they're paying these guys plus everything they gave up, it's championship or bust for this team and they are way closer to the bust side of the spectrum.
Last season, the Clippers' margin of victory was 0 due to the fact that they averaged 108.4, but also allowed that many points per game on defense.
The good news there is that 108.4 per game was good for 11th in the league, but more importantly, in terms of defensive efficiency, the Clippers ranked 8th overall. The issue is that they were last in the league in points per game and 24th in offensive efficiency.
With Leonard and George back, I think the defense stays right where it is and the offense gets a massive boost that will take them into the top half of the league. That instantly makes them title contenders, something the Lakers are not right now.
There's one specific reason I think the Clippers are real contenders (if healthy of course) and that's head coach Ty Lue. In my opinion, he's the most underrated coach in the league, who needs to get far more credit for how he's kept this team competitive.
For my NBA pick, I think the Clippers' defense puts the clamps on this Lakers' roster and they will have trouble getting over 105 points in this game.
The Clippers want to make a statement and their two stars play both ends of the court. The other issue is that the Lakers really do not have anyone to defend either guy.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.