The Lakers currently hold a record of 14-4 and are 10-8 against the spread. Los Angeles is coming off a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Sixers stand at 12-6, but they are 9-8-1 against the spread. In Philly’s last matchup, they fell to the Detroit Pistons.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Lakers-Sixers odds.
NBA Odds: Lakers-Sixers Odds
Los Angeles Lakers -3.5 (-110)
Philadelphia 76ers +3.5 (-110)
Over 222.5 Points (-110)
Under 222.5 Points (-110)
Why The Lakers Could Cover The Spread
Coming into one of the biggest regular season games of 2021 so far, the Lakers couldn’t be hotter.
Los Angeles is 8-2 in their last 10 games, including a statement victory in Milwaukee. They are 3-0 to start their seven-game road trip.
The Lakers have been so good lately because they are dominating both sides of the floor. While it’s easy to focus on how good LeBron James and company have been at scoring the ball, the Lakers have led with their defense recently.
On the road trip so far, no team has broken 110 points against the Lakers defense. This includes a dominant performance in Milwaukee, holding the Bucks to 14 points below their season average.
The Los Angeles defense has allowed the second least points and three-pointers made in the entire league.
While the Sixers play great defense themselves, they struggle on the perimeter. Philadelphia ranks in the bottom third of the league in defending the three-pointer.
This could be deadly against a Lakers team that has shot the ball well from deep this season. Los Angeles holds the fifth highest three-point percentage as a team.
Both Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso rank in the top five in the league in three-point percentage, hitting a remarkable 50% and 54.5% respectively.
The Lakers need an all hands on deck effort here against one of the best teams in the league. If Los Angeles gets a full team effort like they did in Milwaukee, they should cover this spread easily.
Why The Sixers Could Cover The Spread
While the Lakers have clearly been the better team so far, the gap between Los Angeles and Philadelphia is not a significant one.
This is apparent on the defensive end. The Lakers currently hold the best defensive rating in the league, but the Sixers are just a few slots behind them at fifth.
Philadelphia is actually better than Los Angeles when it comes to locking down the paint. The Sixers have held opponents to a lower overall FG% than the Lakers have, and they lead the league in blocked shots.
With Embiid in the middle, the Sixers have prevented easy buckets all year. This will be key against a Lakers offense that will bury you in a blink if you don’t make them work for their buckets.
Embiid isn’t just key on the defensive end. The early MVP candidate has been torching teams and makes the Sixers nearly unbeatable when he plays.
Embiid is averaging a monstrous 27.7 points a game on 55% shooting from the field. The Cameroonian star is currently shooting career highs from both the three-point line (40.5%) and free-throw stripe (83.3%).
The Sixers have a total of six losses, and four of those came when Embiid did not play. After missing Philly’s last game in Detroit, expect Embiid to come out fresh and motivated.
If the Sixers can keep the Lakers shooters in check and run the offense through Embiid, this will come down to the wire.
Final Lakers-Sixers Prediction & Pick
While both teams are contenders, the Lakers have been in a class of their own lately. The Sixers should keep this game close, but I expect the Lakers to get enough distance in the closing minutes to cover the small spread. I’ll take L.A. to get their fourth straight on the road tonight.
FINAL SCORE LAKERS SIXERS PREDICTION: LAL 114, PHI 106 (LAL -3.5)