76ers vs. Lakers Odds, Pick, Prediction: Back L.A. to Start Fast (January 15)

Action Network contributor Andrew O'Connor-Watts previews Sunday's NBA game between the 76ers and Lakers, including a betting prediction.

76ers vs. Lakers Odds

76ers Odds -4
Lakers Odds +4
Over/Under 237 (-110/-110)
Time 9:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Sunday night’s only nationally televised game will be a meeting of the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Sixers kicked off a five-game West Coast road trip Saturday night against a Jazz team without their leading scorer, Lauri Markkanen. Philadelphia will look for momentum against a Lakers team coming off a double overtime loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night.

Here’s a look at the odds, as well as our pick and prediction for the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Lakers.

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Philadelphia 76ers

Early momentum is something the Sixers have lacked this season. One reason for that is a result of injuries to their top three scorers: Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey. Lesser players have had to fill in some of the roles normally occupied by the scoring trio and it hasn’t always led to winning basketball.

The Sixers are healthy now, but Doc Rivers still has some rotational kinks to work out. His first round of substitutions are generally distributed between bench players like Georges Niang, Matisse Thybulle, Montrezl Harrell, Paul Reed, De’Anthony Melton and Shake Milton.

The only players in that group with positive Net Ratings are Thybulle (+3.5) and Niang (+1.7), according to Cleaning the Glass.

Melton, Thybulle and Niang are often the first ones off the bench, but by the time the second quarter comes around, Harrell, Milton and Reed are also in the mix.

This usually leads to the less effective lineups, namely due to a lack of defense. NBA Advanced Stats shows the Sixers’ fourth-best defense (110.2) falls to 16th in the second quarter (114.5).

Los Angeles Lakers

Unlike the Sixers, the Lakers’ leads have primarily come in the beginning of games. Excellent first-half defense and a surprising second unit — led by Sixth Man of the Year Award frontrunner Russell Westbrook — are primarily responsible for helping Los Angeles get off to fast starts.

Midway through the first quarter is usually when Lakers head coach Darvin Ham begins to integrate the second unit, which features some of the Lakers most important contributors.

Wenyen Gabriel has proven to be a savvy pickup for the Lakers with his energy off the bench. That energy can be seen in the advanced metrics as Gabriel has the highest Net Rating of any non-starter (+5.1) and is fourth on the entire team, per Cleaning the Glass. Westbrook is fifth (+2.1), and he’s Ham’s first choice off the bench.

Gabriel provides defense and rebounding and according to NBA Advanced Stats, the Lakers have the third-best Defensive Rating in the second quarter (106.5). That improves to second-best (102.6) looking at home games.

76ers-Lakers Pick

Los Angeles is one of those teams I look to bet on primarily in the first half. Even in games the Lakers lose by a wide margin, they usually find a way to overachieve early. They are 13-6 against the spread in both the second quarter and first half.

Philadelphia isn’t a blind fade team, but the Sixers’ 1st-half record hasn’t been impressive. They are 7-10 against the spread in both the second quarter and first half.

I see no reason to buck those trends, especially with the Sixers playing the second night of a back-to-back. Philadelphia is also playing its third game in four nights after going from Philadelphia to Utah to L.A.

Take the Lakers early. I like their second quarter line down to -1, and their 1st half line to -2.

Pick: Lakers 1H /Lakers 2Q