The Golden State Warriors face off against the Los Angeles Lakers for the second time this season at Staples Center. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Warriors-Lakers prediction and pick.
The Warriors currently hold an overall record of 19-15 and are 18-16 against the spread. Golden State is coming off a win over the Charlotte Hornets.
The Lakers stand at 23-11 but are only 15-19 against the spread. Los Angeles just snapped a four-game losing streak with a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Warriors-Lakers odds.
NBA Odds: Warriors vs. Lakers Odds
Golden State Warriors +3 (-110)
Los Angeles Lakers -3 (-110)
Over 220 Points (-110)
Under 220 Points (-110)
Why The Warriors Could Cover The Spread
Since Anthony Davis went down with a knee injury, the Lakers have been rather stagnant offensively. In the five full games without their second star, Los Angeles has averaged a minuscule 101.4 points per game.
The eye-popping number has come from the 3-point line. Over those five games, the Lakers shot below 30% from beyond the arc four times.
Against a Warriors team that has defended well inside the 3-point line, it’s tough to win games without making your outside shots against Golden State. Stephen Curry and company have lost a total of one game all season when their opponents shoots below 30% from 3 for the game.
Offensively, Golden State will do its best to push the ball and let Curry get up as many shots as possible.
Steph is averaging just below 30 points in his last four matchups while shooting 40% from the field and 36% from the 3-point line. Outside of a cold showing against the Pacers (1-of-11 from 3-land), the recently named All-Star starter has been dynamite offensively.
Golden State is comfortable playing at breakneck speed, while the Lakers are not. The Warriors play at the second-highest pace in the league, willing to let fly no matter what the shot clock is at.
The Lakers are more of a grind-it-out team, preferring to let LeBron survey the floor for as long as possible before getting the best shot he can find.
A track meet increases the Warriors’ odds to win exponentially, and we should be seeing Curry let fly early and often to encourage this.
Why The Lakers Could Cover The Spread
The Lakers have been struggling on the offensive side of the floor, but they continue to impress defensively.
In their last matchup, L.A. managed to clamp a Blazers team that plays very similarly to the Warriors in the second half, holding them to a total of 36 second-half points.
The Lakers have held five of their last six opponents to below their scoring average, with the exception being the Wizards, who needed OT to break their average.
Most importantly for this matchup, Los Angeles holds opponents to 35.4% from 3, the seventh-lowest percentage in the league. If the Lakers can hold Golden State closer to this figure instead of the 37.2% they usually shoot, they have good odds of taking home the win here.
Offensively, the Lakers will need to exploit the two weaknesses the Warriors have on defense: the 3-point line and cleaning the glass.
While they’ve allowed the fourth-fewest field goals per game in the league and hold opponents to the second-lowest overall field goal percentage, Golden State has allowed the 11th-most 3-pointers per game and 11th-highest opponent percentage from beyond the arc.
As previously noted, the Lakers have struggled from deep, but the shaky Warriors 3-point defense could be just what Lakers shooters need to shake their slump.
On the defensive end, the Warriors have allowed the most offensive boards per game in the league. The Lakers aren’t much of an offensive rebounding team (9.8 per game), but we could see a big game out of Montrezl Harrell, who has been a beast of late.
In Davis’ absence, Harrell is having his best stretch in a Lakers jersey, averaging 17.4 points on 59% shooting and grabbing just under three offensive boards a game.
Expect Harrell and LeBron to be active on the boards in an effort to punish Golden State.
Final Warriors-Lakers Prediction & Pick
This is a strength vs. strength matchup that should be intriguing to the end. The Warriors love to shoot opponents out of the gym with the 3-pointer, but the Lakers guard the 3-point line well. The Lakers win games by pounding the ball inside, but the Warriors have defended the rim well. In the end, I’ll give the slight edge to the Lakers here. L.A. should be able to win the rebounding and paint battle, and they just need to stay level with Golden State from beyond the arc to get a win. The Lakers’ shooters are better than we’ve seen recently, and I’ll back them to step up today.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: LAL 111, GSW 104 (LAL -3)