Lakers vs. Wizards Betting Preview: Back LeBron James, L.A. to Stay Hot

Jacob McKenna previews Sunday's NBA game between the Lakers and Wizards and offers up a betting prediction.

Lakers vs. Wizards Odds

Lakers Odds +1.5
Wizards Odds -1.5
Over/Under 233.5
Time 6 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Los Angeles Lakers will continue their six-game road trip on Sunday evening when they travel to Washington take on the Wizards.

The Lakers began their road trip with quite the bang, defeating the Bucks 133-129 in what was their fourth win in their past five games. On the other hand, the Wizards have not found themselves in the win column quite as often, having lost five of their past six games.

Washington finds themselves in the midst of a downward spiral, but does return to its home court after playing five of the past six games on the road. Will that be enough to get the Wizards their 12th win of the season, or will the Lakers continue to play good basketball and win their third game in a row?

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Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers began the 2022-23 season by winning just two of their first 11 games. The biggest source for the Lakers’ early season struggles was their inability to put an even slightly competent offense on the floor. As a result, the Lakers posted an Offensive Rating of 103.2, which ranked 30th in the NBA during that 11-game stretch.

However, the Lakers have since won seven of their past 10 games, a sign that LA may have found its footing.

The past 10 games have seen the Lakers perform at a level we haven’t seen from this roster in a long time. Since its poor start, LA has raised its Offensive Rating to 117.9, which is nearly 15 points higher than it was less than a month ago.

Additionally, the Lakers have become far more efficient from just about everywhere on the floor. In their first 11 games the Lakers shot a league worst 29.3% from behind the arc, but have since raised that percentage to 37.2%. They also shot just 44.5% from the floor in their first 11 games, but have seen that percentage rise to 49.8% in the past 10 games.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis are listed on the injury report, but that is a common occurrence and both guys have played exceptionally well as of late. James has averaged 28 points, 8.2 rebounds and six assists since returning from injury on Nov. 25. Davis has contributed with an average of 30.3 points and 12.5 rebounds per game in that same stretch.

Washington Wizards

Opposite of the Lakers, the Wizards began their season by winning 10 of their first 17 games. However, Washington has come back down to Earth since that start, and is now in quite the slump.

The past six games have been far from ideal for the Wizards. Washington is just 1-5 and has a point differential of -21, meaning they’re having problems on both ends of the floor.

The largest issue has been their efficiency from behind the arc. The Wizards have performed poorly in that area for most of the season, as evidenced by their three-point percentage of 34.2%. That percentage has fallen even further (31.6%) in their past six games.

However, Washington is also having a tremendous amount of trouble on the defensive end of the floor. In their past six games the Wizards have seen their Defensive Rating rise to a poor 120.5, putting them at the 28th in the NBA in that stretch of time. That is up from their season rating of 112.4, which further shows that the Wizards can’t seem to figure anything out.

Lakers-Wizards Pick

All in all we have two teams trending in opposite directions and I think the Lakers are more likely to stay hot than Washington is to turn things around.

The Wizards weaknesses open up the door for many of LA’s strengths. Washington is allowing opponents to shoot 37% from behind the arc this season, which will likely continue against a Lakers team that has finally found their touch from three-point land. LA is also one of the more dominant teams in the painted area this season, scoring an average of 56.7 points per game and seeing that average rise to 62.7 in their past three games.

I expect the hot shooting of James and Davis to continue against a defense that hasn’t been able to stop anyone as of late. I like the Lakers to cover the spread on the road.

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