warriors lakers odds pick prediction
Kyle Terada | USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers host the Golden State Warriors in an all-California one-game battle for the No. 7 seed in the West. The winner takes that seventh spot to Phoenix for a series with the Suns, while the loser must suit up for battle once again, facing the winner of tonight’s Memphis v. San Antonio game for a chance to duke it out with Utah as the West’s No. 8 seed.

Let’s take a deep dive into the different markets with our Warriors vs. Lakers betting pick, complete with the best odds, prop predictions, and analysis.

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Dinged-up Laker stars, Anthony Davis and LeBron James, will try to win their third game in four tries this season against the league’s hottest player, Steph Curry, and his in-form Warriors team. There will be more attention paid to this game and its betting options than any other play-in matchup, something worth factoring in while shopping for your plays tonight.

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Warriors vs. Lakers Odds

Here are the current odds for Warriors and Lakers at DraftKings Sportsbook:

Clippers-3 (-112)-143O 216.5 (-112)
Mavericks+3 (-109)+123U 216.5 (-109)

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite bets for this Warriors vs. Lakers matchup.

Warriors vs. Lakers Pick

Los Angeles Lakers to win 1st and 2nd Quarter (+180)

I’m not ready to play against Steph Curry in this game, as he is in a rare zone currently and has put the Warriors on his back, leading them to the Western Conference’s best record (15-5) since April 10. However, I do feel as though the Lakers’ recent form, coupled with the situation this game presents, offers us a solid opportunity to back the Lakers to win both the first and second quarters tonight.

The first quarter being a Lakers’ win is about as solid a play as you’re likely to find in this one and was a strong consideration to be our pick here. You have to figure that the pregame treatment and stretching that Anthony Davis and LeBron receive on their injuries will have them starting the game in as optimal of shape as they will be in all game long. It’s after a long halftime break and the seemingly endless timeouts of the second half of NBA games where I start to wonder how loose Davis’ shoulder and James’ ankle remain.

Heading into the more tangible outcomes, we see that the Lakers won the first quarter in four of their last five games down the stretch in the regular season, all of which were wins. Each of those first quarter wins came by eight or more points, while the first quarter loss to the red hot Knicks came by just one point.

What About the Second?

Los Angeles has also dominated first quarters in recent head-to-heads with Golden State. In fact, they have not lost a first quarter to the Warriors in any of their six meetings across the last two seasons. The Lakers won the three first quarters against the Warriors this season by an average of 11.7 points.

Now that we hopefully feel good about our chances of leading after one, let’s make our case for a second quarter win. We just discussed the Lakers success in the first quarter against the Warriors in recent head-to-head meetings, including three convincing wins this season. Well, we should also mention that they won the second quarter in each of this season’s meetings by an average of 8.3 points. That success against the Warriors in the second quarter extends back to last season, as Los Angeles has only lost one second quarter in the last two seasons in the head-to-head.

The Lakers have taken their collective feet off the gas in the second quarter during their recent win streak, but this is a home playoff game for them and they know what is at stake. Their defensive intensity should follow them onto the court to start the second if they have a successful first quarter, like we project. For Golden State, no one really expected them to even be in this position when Klay Thompson went down with a season-ending injury before their journey even began.

They shut down their top draft pick, James Wiseman, and are doing this solely on Curry’s otherworldly abilities. The second quarter is likely where we see some of this Golden State bench, which is not playoff tested. If Curry gets a respite in the second, the Lakers should be able to capitalize and gain the edge we need to steal the second quarter and complete this solid paying prop. After all, Golden State can’t run Steph out there for 48 minutes, knowing that, if they lose, they are traveling home to play an elimination game in two days’ time.


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Warriors vs. Lakers Betting Anaylsis

The public will be salivating for the opportunity to watch LeBron and Steph play in a game with such meaning. Your average bettor has to feel that the star-power in this one will naturally translate to a shootout, especially in today’s high-scoring NBA. Factor in Curry’s uncanny scoring run and the Lakers’ topping 120 points in three of their final five regular season games, and, well, Joe Public will be sprinting to the betting window to get a ticket that allows them to root for the over tonight.

However, follow the total itself since it opened near 223 in most shops and one should realize that the public may be betting blind here. Early sharp money on the under has helped drive this total down near 218 in many online sportsbooks at the time this was written and, we think, with good reason.

A Slowed-Down Pace

For starters, put the stars aside and you will quickly find that these teams are two of the best under bets in the NBA this season. They have combined to play just 58 of their 144 games over the final posted number (40.3%), which tells you straight away that the perception does not match the realities when it comes to scoring.

The Lakers are the league’s ninth-worst scoring offense, which they have been able to hide a bit, because they possess a defense that continues to be elite. It was the league’s best last season and has continued to excel this season, despite many roster changes. Los Angeles is still second in the league in scoring defense (106.8 ppg against), fourth in three-point field goal percentage against (35.2%), and eighth in field goal percentage against (46.0%).

The last stat there shows you that they are forcing teams deep into the shot clock to get their shots, which is echoed in the Lakers’ sluggish pace of play. The team is tied for the 12th slowest pace this season, which should be accentuated with a banged up Davis and James tonight.

The Warriors play faster, but still boast a tremendous half court defense. Despite allowing the 13th most points in the league per game, they still own the third-best defensive field goal percentage (45.2%) and the eighth-best three-point field goal percentage (35.9%). With the Lakers at home, we expect them to dictate the pace of this one and with so many bonafide defensive stars on the court, the half court game could become a slog at points, as each team truly only has one or two legitimate offensive threats to contain.

Recent History Says Under

Seven of the last 10 head-to-head between these two have stayed under the total and the current total for tonight is lower than any of those prior meetings. If you trust the line of the game, then it is worth noting that the Warriors have only topped 114 points in a loss four times all season. In the other 29 losses, they averaged just 102.6 points per game. The Lakers entered their final three games of the regular season averaging just 100.3 points per game against in regulation in games they won.

The Warriors played 64% of their road games under the total this season, while the Lakers were busy playing 61% of their battles with Western Conference foes under. Golden State played 17 of their 27 games under as a dog of three or more, as well.

Both teams closed out their season with wins, so we should note that the two combined to play 48 of 80 games under after a win (60.0%) and 47 of 77 under against an opponent off a win (61.0%).

Being the Champs, the Lakers have gotten teams’ best shots all season long, creating a playoff-like atmosphere every time they play a good opponent. As such, 24 of their 36 games (66.7%) against above .500 foes have stayed under the total.

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Lakers vs Warriors Pick

The first two play-in games last night generally disappointed in terms of atmosphere and excitement, but we expect this one to meet the hype. The Lakers are the defending champions, one built around defense, while Golden State has probably the most underrated defense in the league. Both know that a blowout loss means a win-or-go-home game Friday and might shut down its stars early if this one feels out of reach. Tough half-court defense rules the night in this one.

Our Pick: GSW/LAL Under 218.5 (DraftKings Sportsbook -113)

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Bob Wankel is a credentialed Phillies writer for Crossing Broad. He is also Vice President of Sports Betting Content at XL Media and co-hosts Crossed Up: A Phillies Podcast. A South Jersey resident and graduate of Monmouth University, his past work includes 12+ years in education and six seasons as a freelancer at NFL Films. On Twitter: @Bob_Wankel E-mail: bob.w@xlmedia.com