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One of the NBA’s best rivalries returns on Wednesday as the Los Angeles Clippers meet the Los Angeles Lakers in the battle for LA.
The Clippers traded for 10x All-Star and 2018 MVP James Harden on Tuesday, but he is not expected to be available by tip-off. The Clips will also be without a bevy of rotational players they gave up in the trade, which means they will be shorthanded against the purple and gold.
Here, we will react to the betting odds and share our favorite betting picks for the matchup.
The Clippers soared into the top five in NBA Finals betting odds following the Harden trade, though the oddsmakers have docked them in this matchup since he will not suit up. On the other side, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the rest of the Lakers are all systems go.
*Odds from BetMGM Sportsbook. Use our BetMGM promo code for a $1,500 welcome bonus.*
|Los Angeles Clippers||+5.5 (-110)||+170||Over 225.5 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Lakers||-5.5 (-110)||-210||Under 225.5 (-110)|
The Clippers are really pushing their chips to the center of the table with this trade. Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Paul Goerge, and Russell Westbrook will all be free agents in the summer, and the team has mortgaged nearly all of its future draft capital just to get this team assembled.
All four of the Clippers’ stars have varying concerns, whether they be related to health, fit, chemistry, or postseason performances.
Looking strictly at Wednesday’s matchup, Westbrook, George, and Leonard are going to have to play heavy minutes. Plus, guys that are either lower in the pecking order or out of the rotation, such as Bones Hyland, Amir Coffey, and Mason Plumlee, are going to have to accept increased roles (like they did on Tuesday against the Orlando Magic), since a majority of the bench is either unavailable or no longer plays for LA.
The Clippers have the second-best offensive rating and fifth-best defensive rating in the league as of Tuesday afternoon. Those are two more reasons why making such a large shake-up is incredibly risky.
The Lakers have looked average at best both offensively and defensively but they have still clawed their way to two wins in four tries with a standout victory against the Phoenix Suns.
Anthony Davis has responded well since a disappointing second half in the season-opener and is averaging 25.8 points and 13.8 rebounds. Meanwhile, LeBron James’ minutes restriction did not last long, and he’s averaging 22 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists in 34 minutes per game.
The Lakers are 28th (third-worst) in three-point percentage and have made just 29.2% of their long-range attempts. Anthony Davis and Taurean Prince are the only players shooting better than 33% from outside, although both are above 40%.
On the other side, the Clippers lead the league in three-point shooting at 41.4%. They’re also second in field goal percentage (52.3%), while the Lakers are 15th (46.2%). On top of that, the Clippers have a better rebounding percentage than the Lakers, 52.1% to 50%.
It’s hard to make a statistical argument for the Lakers because, frankly, one doesn’t exist.
The Clippers have also remarkably won 11 straight matchups and 36 of the last 43 against the Lakers. That includes 11 wins in 14 tries during the LeBron James Lakers era.
An argument for the Lakers depends on two criteria. First, the Clippers coming down to Earth from outside and the Lakers returning to the mean, and second, the increased minutes to both wear down the Clippers starters and hurt the team’s production when the second unit is on the court.
The Lakers are the only team that hasn’t covered the spread, and we think they’ll struggle once again. Their rotations are still off, and until guys start knocking down open shots, it’s hard to pick them against contenders.
Stick with the Clippers in this one because of Leonard and George’s history against LA and because both are shooting the ball well to start the year.
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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