Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors Betting Preview

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While the playoff fates for the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors have been decided, one team still has something to play for when they meet at 10 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Golden State (50-29), with three games to play, has a half-game lead on Dallas for the Western Conference’s third seed. Securing that would likely mean a date with reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets in the first round. If the Warriors slip to fourth, they’d likely meet the Utah Jazz.

Meanwhile, the Lakers were officially eliminated from play-in contention, meaning a total wash of LeBron James averaging 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game at age 37.

The line opened at Warriors -12.5 with an over/under of 223. Those have since moved to Warriors -12 with an over/under of 222.5 as of this writing.

Golden State Warriors Betting Preview: Trust the system

When many think of the Warriors, they consider the fast-paced, high-scoring, 3-point shooting offense. That is all there, but some of the pieces are missing, namely Stephen Curry, who they hope to get back for the playoffs. Where Golden State has taken a step forward is defensively.

The Warriors are fifth in the league, allowing 105.5 points per game, defensively and force teams into the second-worst shooting percentage (43.9%) and fourth-worst 3-point percentage (34.0%).

Golden State has strategically been resting players, including second-leading scorer Klay Thompson who returned mid-season from an injury and is averaging 19.3 points per game. Elsewhere, Jordan Poole (18.4 ppg) and Andrew Wiggins (17.2 ppg) have stepped up in others’ absences. Jonathan Kuminga, Otto Porter Jr., Damion Lee, and Kevon Looney have been big in rotational roles.

Los Angeles Lakers Betting Preview: Focus on retooling

The Lakers currently have the eighth-worst record, and with three games to play, they could improve their draft lottery odds. It’s a weird place to be coming off a championship with two of the key pieces returning in James and Anthony Davis. Even adding Russell Westbrook, who averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game, didn’t help their playoff chances.

Now it’s on to retooling and getting younger. The big three are listed as questionable on the injury report, and rest could become a thing for the remainder of the season to give the Lakers’ brass an opportunity to evaluate what they have. Malik Monk, Talen Horton-Tucker, Stanley Johnson, and Austin Reaves should all see a minutes bump.

Los Angeles’ biggest downfall this season was its defense, ranking 26th and allowing 114.8 points per game. The Lakers are 11th in scoring at 111.6 points per contest and seventh in field goal efficiency, converting 46.9% of attempts.

Betting Prediction

Los Angeles is 33-45-1 against the spread and 44-34-1 on over/unders and is an abysmal 11-28 away from home. Golden State is 39-36-4 against the spread and 33-44-2 on over/unders with a 30-10 home record.

It’s hard to see 12 points and want to go with it on principle. But the Lakers don’t have much to play for, and if you get news coming out their starters are sitting, it looks much better. We’ll go Warriors -12.

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