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Lakers vs. Rockets Prediction: Can LA Stay Hot, Overcome Road Woes?

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published January 29, 2024
10 min read

The Los Angeles Lakers (24-23) are taking on the Houston Rockets (21-24) in Texas just a couple of days after their double-overtime thriller against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

LA won five of its last seven games thanks to improved team defense and a resurgent D’Angelo Russell adding a third scorer to aid LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Rockets, on the other hand, lost eight of their last 11 games but are still 16-8 at home for the year.

Here, we will break down the Lakers vs. Rockets betting odds and share our favorite picks in Monday’s matchup.

Lakers vs Rockets Predictions

Lakers vs. Rockets Betting Odds for Monday, Jan. 29

The Lakers are favored by 1.5 points on the road. That’s a relative rarity since they’re only 7-15 straight-up anywhere outside of Los Angeles and 2-6 against the spread as a road favorite.

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Los Angeles Lakers -1.5 (-105) +105 Over 228.5 (-105)
Houston Rockets +1.5 (-115) -115 Under 228.5 (-115)

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The Lakers have seen it all this season. They started the year slowly, won the first In-Season Tournament, went on a terrible losing streak, and now seem to have their feet back under them.

LA is best when its defense is at the center of attention. Despite the team’s improved results, they still rank just 21st in defensive rating in January (and only 16th over their last seven games).

On the flip side, the purple and gold’s offense looks much better than it did during earlier stretches of the campaign. They’re 13th in off. rating this month and fifth over the last seven games.

Despite being a terrible three-point shooting team for the majority of the season, the Lakers made 38.6% of their attempts since the New Year (ninth during that stretch). That’s added the scoring punch they lacked and needed during many of their close losses earlier in the season and is the primary reason they avoided falling into a valley despite their defensive regression.

Russell in particular has been playing outstanding basketball recently. He averaged 27.5 points and 6.4 assists over his last eight games and seems to have removed himself from the trade block after being a near-lock to be traded.

Coach Darvin Ham also shuffled the rotation recently and gave more minutes to defensive stopper Jarred Vanderbilt, most recently playing him 41 in the 2OT game against the Warriors. Meanwhile, starting forward Taurean Prince only played 24 minutes and did not score a point in that game.

Despite the positive changes, the Lakers still have many problems. Their trademark defense is totally absent, largely because they allow the most wide-open (6+ feet of separation) threes per game and let opponents shoot the ninth-best percentage in the paint in 2024. They also commit turnovers at the second-highest frequency since the calendars turned, meaning they need to continue to drill their long-range shots to have a chance against most teams.

The Rockets are a team built around their floor and not their ceiling. The problem for them is that, because of all the talent and parity around the association, that floor still may lead to them missing the Play-In Tournament despite noticeable improvements.

Houston is eighth in points allowed per 100 possessions and has great individual defenders, whether that be Dillon Brooks, Fred VanVleet, or a number of other players in their rotation.

Like the Lakers, the Rockets’ defensive solidarity was often counteracted by their offensive woes. They rank just 26th in field goal percentage and struggle to make three-point shots, which is part of why they’re a bottom-10 scoring team.

Houston also plays at such a slow pace that they don’t create many “cheap” scoring opportunities, whether that be in transition or with points off turnovers.

The Rockets have been much better at home than on the road. They rank 11th in home scoring differential per 100 possessions (+6.0) which, for comparison, is 13.3 points better than the Lakers’ mark on the road (-7.3).

At the same time, they only played three home games since January 6, beating the Utah Jazz and losing to the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers. 

Alperen Sungun is the player in red to watch. He was quiet his last two outings (26 total points) but averaged 23 and nine rebounds in January and 21 points and 10 rebounds in three games against the Lakers.

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Lakers vs. Rockets Prediction and Betting Pick

We like the Rockets to cover (and most likely win) this one. The Lakers have been terrible on the road all year, and only one of their wins in their recent hot streak was played outside of crypto.com Arena.

Houston is also a defensive-minded team that can be frustrating to break down, which is why they have a positive scoring differential despite being three games under .500. Their ability to apply pressure on the perimeter is going to force the Lakers to take even tougher three-point shots, which is not usually their specialty.

If Russell doesn’t play at the level he has been lately (which history suggests is unlikely) then it’s going to take some real heroics from LeBron and AD to bring this one home. Considering they’re both tired from the Warriors game and the Rockets are a great home team, we trust them to come out with a result on Monday.

How to Watch Lakers vs. Rockets

  • When: Monday, Jan. 29 @ 8:00/9:00 p.m. CT/ET

  • Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX

  • TV: NBA League Pass

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

397 Articles

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.

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