Warriors vs. Lakers: Value on L.A. in Division Clash

Action Network contributor Andrew O'Connor-Watts previews Thursday's NBA game between the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Warriors vs. Lakers Odds

Warriors Odds +5.5
Lakers Odds -5.5
Over/Under 238.5
Time 10 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Golden State Warriors take on the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday in a game between two underachieving NBA Finals contenders.

The Warriors will be without Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Gary Payton II, while the Lakers have LeBron James and Anthony Davis listed as probable.

Let’s take a look at the odds and I’ll make a prediction for the Golden State Warriors vs. the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Golden State Warriors

The Warriors announced Wednesday that Curry’s reevaluation would come next week and that Wiggins will miss Thursday’s game while he tends to a personal matter.

That leaves the rest of the Warriors to fend for themselves and figure out a way to weather the storm. Unfortunately, they’ll begin the second half of their season as road dogs — a spot in which they’ve struggled all season.

On the road, Golden State is just 9-20 ATS and 9-11 ATS as underdogs. As road dogs, they’re 5-11 ATS — the second-worst record in the NBA.

It’s no secret Curry’s offensive presence is crucial to the Golden State’s success, but what may go undetected is the defensive presence Wiggins provides.

Wiggins is easily the Warriors’ most valued defensive player outside of Draymond Green. According to Cleaning the Glass, opponents’ Offensive Rating decreases by 6.1 points per 100 possessions when Wiggins is on the court and their Effective Field Goal percentage is 2.1% worse. Those numbers are in the 91st and 83rd percentile, respectively.

Los Angeles Lakers

The trade deadline acquisitions made by Rob Pelinka and the Lakers front office were some of the most important moves of the deadline outside of trades for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving (whom James said he’d like to play with again).

While James may be wishing it was Irving he was playing alongside in search of another championship, D’Angelo Russell is a worthy consolation prize.

Russell is having an excellent shooting season — a big reason why the Lakers traded for his services. His 56.9% Effective Field Goal percentage is only slightly behind Irving’s (57.1%).

The Lakers are the fourth-worst 3-point shooting team in the league, but Russell is shooting 39% from deep, which should help them remedy that weakness.

Since the deadline, the Lakers are 2-1 straight up and ATS, but James only played in one of those games — a 120-102 win over the Pelicans.

Warriors-Lakers Pick

James and Davis are both probable for Thursday’s game, and I think the added rest is a huge advantage for the Lakers with James and Davis’ tendency to sit due to injury or load management.

In their title run during the 2020 bubble season, the Lakers benefited from plenty of rest and they’ve now had nine days off since their last meaningful basketball game. Additionally, James has only played one game since Feb. 7.

I think the Lakers will look to make a playoff push post-All-Star break and they’re simply more equipped than the Warriors at this point.

James’ presence should also provide playmaking that will help the Russell play more off-ball against a Warriors team that struggles to defend the perimeter. I expect Russell to get more scoring opportunities with James as the primary facilitator.

I like the Lakers down to -6.5 and I like Russell over 16.5 points for a half unit. He cleared that line in the one game he played with James and was around that number (16, 15) in the two games prior — without James’ playmaking.

Pick: Lakers -5.5 | Play to -6.5
Pick: D’Angelo Russell Over 16.5 Points