Lakers vs. Nets Prediction: Lebron Continues Big Apple Tour

lebron james

Getty Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

The Los Angeles Lakers are 5.5-point favorites over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night at Barclays Center.

Los Angeles (35-9) is playing the second of a back-to-back after beating the Knicks 100-92 on Wednesday night at MSG. The Lakers won the game, but did not cover the 11.5-point spread and have lost two of their last three against the number. Anthony Davis scored 28 points in 30 minutes in his second game back from a tailbone injury. Los Angeles allowed just 44 points in the 2nd half and forced 17 turnovers just two days after allowing a season-high 139 points in a loss to the Celtics.

Brooklyn (18-24) is coming off a 117-111 loss to the 76ers despite leading 68-64 at halftime. The Nets fell to 5-8 when leading at the half on the road this season. Kyrie Irving did not play in the game due to a mild hamstring injury but is expected to play against the Lakers. Brooklyn is 0-4 ATS in their last four games despite getting both Irving and Caris LeVert back in the lineup. The Nets have been sloppy on offense this season and rank 28th with 16.0 turnovers per game. Brooklyn has won two straight over the Lakers after sweeping the season series last year.

ESPN’s FPI gives Los Angeles a 65.0% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Thursday’s matchup between the Lakers and Nets. 

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Lakers vs. Nets Game Details

Date: Thursday, January 23
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: Barclays Center (Brooklyn, New York)
TV: TNT
Spread:
Lakers -5.5
Total: 227

*All lines, odds & trends courtesy of FanDuel, Covers, & The Action Network


Key Injuries

Lakers

  • None

Nets

  • PF Nicolas Claxton (shoulder) doubtful
  • DeAndre Jordan (finger) questionable
  • PG Kyrie Irving (hamstring) probable
  • SF Kevin Durant (Achilles) out

Betting Trends

  • Lakers are 35-9 SU and 23-20-1 ATS this season
  • Nets are 18-24 SU and 20-21-2 ATS this season
  • Under 23-21 in Clippers games this season
  • Under is 21-20-1 in Mavericks games this season

Analysis & Pick

The Lakers are surprisingly healthy heading into this matchup against the Nets with no key starters listed on the injury report. Anthony Davis is set to play in both legs of a back-to-back for the first time in a month and is coming off one of his most efficient performances of the season. Davis poured in 28 points in 30 minutes on 7-of-14 shooting and went 13-for-13 from the free-throw line in Wednesday’s win over the Knicks.

Lebron James recorded a season-high five steals as the Lakers were locked in defensively at the Garden. However, it’s been Brooklyn’s defense that has done the better job clamping down. The Nets are fourth in the NBA in field-goal defense (43.3%) which will be a fascinating matchup going up against the Lakers’ league-leading field goal offense (48.4%).

Lack of rest has not mattered for the Lakers this season, who are 4-1 ATS in their last five games in the second game of a back-to-back this season. Meanwhile, Brooklyn is just 4-6 ATS when they have the rest advantage over their opponent.  It’s hard not to back the Lakers as relatively short favorites here at full strength against a struggling Nets squad.

PICK: Lakers -5.5


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Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith