Lakers vs. Warriors: Trust LeBron James, Anthony Davis to Cover

With LeBron James and Anthony Davis healthy and rested, Joe Dellera expects the Lakers to be primed to go toe-to-toe with the Warriors on opening night. Here's how he's betting the game.

Lakers vs. Warriors Odds

Lakers Odds +200
Warriors Odds -245
Over/Under 225 (-110/-110)
Time 10 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The NBA is BACK, and despite the offseason being electric, it’s about time we see some meaningful on-court action.

Tonight, the Lakers head to the Bay as they try their best to spoil the Warriors‘ Ring Ceremony on Opening Night. Here’s our preview and prediction for Lakers vs. Warriors, featuring my best bet with the current odds.

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With Healthy LeBron and AD, Rested Lakers Should Be Ready

The Lakers had plenty of time to prepare for this season considering they were on the outside looking in on the playoffs.

They were finally able to trade Talen Horton-Tucker’s overvalued stock in the offseason and brought back Patrick Beverley from the Utah Jazz. This should improve their play at the point guard position while giving them a strong point of attack defender on the perimeter.

Additionally, the Lakers acquired Lonnie Walker IV, Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Thomas Bryant which provides not only bench depth but Walker can contribute as an additional scoring threat in the starting lineup.

One of the biggest questions surrounding the Lakers was whether or not they would trade Russell Westbrook, or if he would come off the bench if not. While no trade is necessarily imminent, new Lakers coach Darvin Ham indicated Westbrook is comfortable with coming off the bench for the team with the idea of staggering LeBron and Westbrook’s minutes. This should open up more assist opportunities for both players.

However, the NBA would not be back if we were not inundated with injury reports. With Russell Westbrook listed as probable with a hamstring injury, we may not get an update on whether he is starting or leading the bench unit.

Dennis Schroder (thumb) is out for the next three to four weeks after undergoing surgery on Monday, as well. The Lakers also have listed Anthony Davis and LeBron James as probable, but both routinely played through probable tags last season.

One notable thing about the Lakers is they obviously are rested, and when both Davis and James have played, this team has excelled. In 108 regular season games, the Lakers are 75-33 (69.4%) straight up with both stars on the court. While they were just 11-11 last season, they struggled to both stay healthy after winning the NBA Championship the season before.

With one of the longest offseasons of LeBron’s career, these two should be locked in and ready to go in the Opener.

Will the Warriors Take Time to Gel in 2022-23?

The Warriors have made splashes with huge extensions for both Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins, but they lost a few key players from their Championship run. The Warriors lost Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr., Nemanja Bjelica, Damion Lee, and Juan Toscano-Anderson but replaced them with Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal, Green while James Wiseman has returned from injury. They still have some gelling to do, but this team is excellent once again.

The Warriors obviously had a shorter offseason than the Lakers, and they are carrying a few players on their injury report including Moses Moody (calf – questionable), Patrick Baldwin (thumb – questionable) and Andre Iguodala (out – conditioning).

Additionally, Coach Kerr indicated that the team’s conditioning is not in midseason form.

This means more minutes for the Golden State bench players, who have not had the same time to play together in meaningful minutes. This will absolutely impact their rotations and their ability to run their traditional playbook.

This is also significant because while Stephen Curry was a blistering +13 point differential last season, the only other players still active and on the roster with a point differential of +2 or better are Jordan Poole (+4.2) and Draymond Green (+2.6), per Cleaning the Glass.

As they delve further into their rotations the Warriors are more likely to experience growing pains at the start of the season.

Lakers-Warriors Pick

So can the Lakers crash the Warriors’ ring ceremony? I think so.

At the time of this writing, the Warriors have received 66% of spread bets and 73% of the money. The line had held at the same 6.5 line since the open during the offseason, with some books even having reverse movement to Warriors -6. And by Monday evening, that was the consensus line.

This is a spot where the public is backing the reigning champs, but the respected money is keeping the line static by refusing to give LeBron and Co. more points. Additionally, since 2003, popular favorites on opening night (65% of spread bets or greater) are just 29-42-2 ATS. The Warriors fit into this criteria as of this writing.

The Lakers had a season to forget last year, but with the Warriors adjusting their rotations, there’s too much in flux to justify backing the reigning champs. I’ll grab the points and trust LeBron and Anthony Davis in a primetime spot to keep it within two possessions.

Pick: Lakers +6 at FanDuel