Wizards vs. Lakers Betting Preview: Struggling Washington Has Value in L.A.

Action Network contributor Chris Baker previews how to bet Sunday's matchup between the Wizards and Lakers.

Wizards vs. Lakers Odds

Wizards Odds +4.
Lakers Odds -4.5
Over/Under 234.5
Time 9:30 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Washington Wizards continue their road trip in Los Angeles where they will take on the Lakers in a much-anticipated game for Kyle Kuzma. The Wizards are reeling: They have the longest losing streak in the NBA and have lost 12 of their past 13 games.

Can Kristaps Porzingis, Kuzma and Co. make a statement on the road? Or will the Lakers defend their homecourt? Let’s see take a look at the Wizards vs. Lakers odds and see who has the edge.

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Wizards Finally Have a Matchup Advantage

The Wizards have completely fallen apart after starting the season 11-10. They have lost nine straight and now sit at 11-19 and rank just 25th in Adjusted Net Rating. This is technically the second night of a back-to-back for them, but they will have no travel disadvantage as yesterday afternoon’s game was against the L.A. Clippers at Arena.

The Wizards match up well with the Lakers’ offense as they rank eighth in Rim Rate allowed and fifth in 3-point rate allowed. Defending the rim will be especially important against this Lakers offense that ranks first in rim rate in the NBA, taking an astounding 40.8% of their shots at the rim.

Expect Thomas Bryant to start as Anthony Davis will be out with injury for this one. Bryant exerts much less rim pressure than Davis, so I expect the Wizards to do a better job limiting the Lakers’ ability to score in the paint than the Denver Nuggets did Friday night.

On the offensive end, the Wizards should have some success against a Lakers defense down their best defender. The Lakers are pretty much devoid of elite rim protectors outside of Davis, so I expect Porzingis, Kuzma, and the Wizards bigs to have a field day in the paint if the Lakers have to go small.

Bryant ranks in the eighth percentile of rim defenders and represents a significant downgrade from Davis as AD ranks in the 98th percentile of rim deterrence, according to Cleaning the Glass. The Wizards should have no issue scoring on this shorthanded Lakers defense even with Bryant on the floor.

How Far Will the Lakers Fall Without Davis?

The Lakers have been underwhelming through 30 games of the season. They are four games under .500 and rank just 20th in Adjusted Net Rating.

The Lakers will be without Davis for this one and that should significantly hinder their ability to defend the rim. Davis is easily their best rim defender. With him on the floor, the Lakers allow 5.0 fewer points in the paint per 100 possessions, according to NBA Advanced Stats.

On offense, the Lakers should be able to stay hot against a weak Wizards transition defense. The Lakers are trying to get out and run as they rank sixth in transition frequency on offense.

They should find some success against a Wizards defense that ranks 20th in transition points per 100 possessions. Expect the Lakers to have some transition success here, but struggle on the defensive end of the floor.

Wizards-Lakers Pick

I think the Wizards have a decent chance to upset the Lakers here with Davis out. The Wizards didn’t have to travel for this one and the Lakers are worse on both ends without Davis. Trust the Wizards to cover the +4.5 in L.A. on Sunday night. Don’t play this past +3.5.

Pick: Wizards +4.5 (-110)