Still, there are seven more games on the schedule and our crew of betting analysts are focused on two matchups featuring teams from Los Angeles. They break down those matchups and give their expert picks and predictions for those games below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Los Angeles Lakers vs. New Orleans Pelicans||6 p.m. ET|
|Los Angeles Clippers vs. New York Knicks||7 p.m. ET|
Los Angeles Lakers vs. New Orleans Pelicans
|Pick||Pelicans Moneyline (-120)|
|Tipoff||6 p.m. ET|
Chris Baker: The Pels obviously have a homecourt edge and a travel edge since they only had to fly into New Orleans from Dallas, but they also have a focus edge. It is very distracting for an organization to have to deal with loud trade rumors due to this Kyrie Irving trade request. The Lakers are the favorites to land him and there are a lot of rotation players who could potentially be packing their bags to bring Irving to L.A.
All of this is fine, but I think it is impossible for it to not drain your focus from your next opponent and next game plan. This Pelicans team is still loaded with talent and depth and they will be extra motivated to get out of the loss column against this Lakers team. This is not a team you can overlook and I expect the Pelicans to capitalize on this terrific situational spot.
Focusing on the court, I like the way this Pelicans team matches up with the Lakers as they have the length and athleticism to disrupt LeBron James and Anthony Davis. We just saw the Lakers barely escape Indiana with a win but the Pacers are actually the dream-matchup for the Lakers.
The Pacers start four small guards and one Center and pretty much play one traditional “big” the entire game. They play up-tempo, which enabled the Lakers to avoid halfcourt offensive possessions. The Lakers should’ve crushed that team, yet they barely escaped with a win.
The Pelicans are the anti-Pacers as they play ton of physical big wing-defenders who are capable of defending the paint. If this Pelicans defense has one profound weakness it is their inability to run shooters off the three point line as they rank 25th in opponent three point attempt rate allowed.
That weakness won’t be exploited here as the Lakers rank 28th in three point accuracy and 26th in three point attempt rate. I love the way the Pelicans matchup and I love this spot for them so I gladly grabbed them at -105 on the moneyline. I would play their spread up -2.5.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. New York Knicks
|Pick||Knicks 1H Spread (+1.5)|
|Tipoff||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Chris Baker: Back to the well.
The half and quarter derivatives markets have been strong this season, and Saturday offers another nice alignment of ‘bests’ and ‘worsts’.
The Knicks have been comically good in the first half of games this season. Their +5.4 net rating in the first ranks a very respectable fourth, but it’s really against the spread where they shine. They are 37-15-1 against the spread in the first half, for a 35.3% return on investment. That’s more than twice (!) any other ROI in the league in first halves this season.
On the flip side, the Clippers have been notoriously slow starters this season. They have a -5.1 net rating in the first half (25th in the league), and they are the second-worst team against the spread in the first half in 2022-23. Their record is 21-34-0 for a -26.9% ROI in the first 24 minutes.
The Clippers are fully healthy, while the Knicks have Jalen Brunson listed as questionable, which is why the Clippers are 3.5-point favorites as of writing. However, Brunson’s questionable status is due to illness, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play tonight.
The Knicks were also able to beat the Heat last time out without Brunson, and actually have a better net rating overall than the Clippers this season. I got this at +2.5, but I’d play this to +1.5 -110.