Clippers vs. Lakers: Betting the Battle of L.A.

Action Network contributor Andrew O'Connor-Watts breaks down how to bet Clippers vs. Lakers on Wednesday night.

Clippers vs Lakers Odds

Clippers Odds +5.5
Lakers Odds -5.5
Moneyline +185 / -225
Over/Under 227.5
Time Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Battle of Los Angeles takes place tonight on ESPN, but all the attention is on the recent trade between the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers that sent James Harden, PJ Tucker and Filip Petrusev to L.A. and Marcus Morris, Nic Batum, Robert Covington, KJ Martin, an unprotected 2028 first-round pick, two second-round picks, and a first-round pick swap to Philly.

Harden and Tucker have yet to be announced as playing, so make sure to monitor that situation before going too crazy on this game.

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Clippers vs Lakers Picks, Prediction

Both teams just played the Magic, and both will be on their third game in four nights. I never feel good about betting the Clippers on a back-to-back, with Kawhi Leonard always at risk of sitting out. However, Leonard has played in more back-to-backs since the 2021 season in what could be a concerted effort to dispel the load management reputation. Either way, his status should be monitored.

Harden and Tucker’s availability is the other obvious missing piece to this handicapping puzzle. The Lakers are five-point favorites which is a little longer than where I have them power rated as I make this Lakers -3.5 and tells me that Harden and Tucker might have the chance to play.

Although the under is also starting to take some respected money, which could go either way. The general perception is that Harden is a great offensive player, so therefore that should help the over, right? Not necessarily. He’s good for efficient offense, but his plodding, dribbling halfcourt style generally provides more value on the under and elongates possessions—something the Clippers haven’t been doing too much of. So far, they’ve been playing fast, with a 101.8 pace.

The Clippers have looked elite so far this season, but the Lakers have taken a bit more time to click. After a breakout last season, Austin Reaves has struggled to find his shot. He’s scoring just 10 points per game despite a usage increase from 15.6 last season, to 20.1 in 2023-24. An under on his 3-point prop could be a strong look as this isn’t a great matchup for Reaves based on his shot profile.

Reaves shoots in just the 25th percentile when it comes to 3-point frequency and most of those come from corner 3s. This season, the Clippers have the sixth-best Defensive Effective Field Goal Percentage (49.4%) as a result of giving up just 36.3% of opponent shots from deep (12th) and just 10.6% from the corner (fifth). If they do give up 3s, they defend them extremely well allowing just 30.9% and 27.3% in the corner.

Clippers vs Lakers Picks, Odds

There’s too much up in the air with Harden and Tucker’s status for me to fire on anything right now, but depending on whether or not they play, I have a few plays I’m eyeing. First, the Lakers are an absolutely horrific 6-24 against the Clippers in their last 30 games dating back to 2014. The big brother-little brother complex is alive and strong with these two teams and the little brothers have been dominating.

At +185, Clippers moneyline is intriguing. I’ll wait for the Harden news and only play it if he’s ruled out. If he’s ruled out, the number will only get longer, but if he does play, I’d rather sit just enjoy it from the sidelines without a rooting interest to see how seamless a transition Harden makes with this group. Based on the Clippers defensive profile and Austin Reaves’ recent struggles, I’ll make a small play for him to have less than two 3s made tonight.

Picks: Austin Reaves under 1.5 3-pointers | Clippers ML (Based on Harden’s status)