Lakers vs. Nets: Expect Los Angeles to Bounce Back

Action Network contributor Austin Wing previews Monday's NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets, including a betting prediction.

Lakers vs. Nets Odds

Lakers Odds +9
Nets Odds -9
Over/Under 231
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers face off on Monday evening.  However, many of the big names in this matchup will not be suiting up.

Kevin Durant is still on the injured list with a sprained MCL, but the good news is he will begin participating in on-court activities this week. For the Lakers, both LeBron James and Anthony Davis will get a rest day on the first game of a back-to-back.

With James declared out, the Nets have ballooned to nine-point favorites. Is this move justified or an overreaction?

Here’s a look at the odds, as well as our pick and prediction for Lakers vs. Nets.

>> Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds, track your bets and follow all of our experts’ picks.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are coming off a controversial overtime loss to the Celtics on Saturday night. James was unhappy about a missed call on his lay-up attempt at the end of regulation. The Celtics wound up winning the game in overtime, 125-121. This has been a hot topic in the basketball world in the past few days, and I wonder if it will affect how the referees call Monday’s game.

Nonetheless, the Lakers will still need to perform without their superstars. They are 4-6 straight up and 3-5-2 against the spread this season without James, per the Sports Data Query Language at Gimme the Dog. Digging even further, the Lakers are 0-5 SU and 0-4-1 ATS without James on the road.

Lonnie Walker returned against the Celtics after being sidelined for 14 games. He made an immediate contribution with 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting in 18 minutes. Newcomer Rui Hachimura has two games under his belt and will have an opportunity to be featured more in this matchup.

Brooklyn Nets

This will be the Nets’ eighth consecutive game without Durant, and they plan to re-evaluate his return in two weeks.  Fortunately, Brooklyn has managed to stay afloat with a 30-19 record, thanks to Kyrie Irving’s stellar play. Irving has averaged 36.3 points per game on 51.7% shooting over the past six games, which include wins over the Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks.

Big man Nic Claxton has been another major contributor. He has taken a huge leap forward this season and has seven double-doubles in the past eight games. He’s also averaging a ridiculous 2.7 blocks per game. The Lakers are second in the league in points in the paint, but I don’t expect them to have much success in that area with Claxton protecting the paint.

The Nets are in a lookahead spot as they face the division rival Celtics on Wednesday. Brooklyn is also coming off a win against the Knicks. I see this as a let-down spot for the Nets.

Lakers-Nets Pick

I don’t think this hefty line is justified — especially without Durant in the lineup. The market is overcompensating for James’ absence and the fatigue off an overtime game. I make this line Nets -6 and see some value on the underdog here.

I’ve seen this play out many times.  Teams receive a short-term boost when their best player is out and others step up in their absence. Conversely, the opposing team may let its guard down when playing a team missing its best players. To add to that theory, the Nets are primed for a let-down in a game sandwiched between two divisional contests.

I anticipate the Lakers will play with some fire after their controversial game against the Celtics. I’m taking the points with the Lakers, and also think a sprinkle on the moneyline is well worth it.

What is QuickSlip?

QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.