Los Angeles Lakers vs. Brooklyn Nets NBA Pick – December 18th

Last night delivered another loss, dropping my NBA picks record to 22-17. It’s been a brutal stretch, with Philly not even showing up in San Antonio being the latest gaffe.

NBA betting is a genre of highs and lows, so you need to take the lumps as they come. Fortunately we all get to try again on Tuesday, where there’s four games awaiting us.

There are actually a couple of good wagers on this slate, but my favorite resides in Brooklyn, where the Nets play host to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Our own Andruw Burling also likes Denver in his Mavericks vs. Nuggets pick and I agree, so feel free to hop on that one as well.

The Nets do offer nice value as a home underdog, but the play here will be the Lakers against the spread or as straight up road favorites.

Los Angeles Lakers (-2.5, -105) @ Brooklyn Nets (+2.5, -115) Total: 228 (-110)

This really isn’t a game where I’ll be attacking a point spread, though. It’s much too light of a line, for starters, while the Nets (16-15) and Lakers (13-17) just aren’t very reliable at beating/covering spreads.

I liken this one more to a pick’em, although I feel just because the Nets are at home they’re being priced closer to a favorite for some reason. I’m not buying that, as Brooklyn are just 6-10 at the Barclays Center this season and they’re also just 5-6 ATS as home dogs.

None of that is necessarily damning, but Los Angeles is at least competitive (7-8) on the road this season and anytime you have LeBron James on your side, it’s going to be tough to bet against you.

Los Angeles arguably wins in the talent department. James’ ability and overall impact speaks for itself and I’m not sure Brooklyn’s 24th-ranked defense is going to slow him down.

I will admit that the Nets play slower (23rd in pace), so if the Lakers can’t push the tempo and control this one, that could be a problem. However, the Nets have not been imposing defensively at all and they don’t have a special mystique at home.

To put it bluntly, there is no way the Lakers should lose this game – even on the road – and you can get them at a sweet -135 price at Sportsbetting.ag.

The Lakers did get housed by the Wizards in their last game, but they’ve been hot (7-3 over their last 10) otherwise, and are still in a dog fight for the top of the Pacific Division. This really isn’t a game they can drop.

Lonzo Ball has been an asset defensively and as a playmaker. If he can just hit some shots, it will go a long way in opening things up for this Lakers offense. Ball’s defensive impact has obviously helped the Lakers (11th in defensive efficiency), while Tyson Chandler getting a little extra run doesn’t hurt the Lakers down low, either.

The only way the Nets steal this one is if they find a way to silence King James (they won’t) and/or shoot the lights out. That’s not impossible given their plethora of outside shooters, but Allen Crabbe possibly being out for this one wouldn’t hurt L.A.’s defensive upside:

I still love the Lakers here whether Crabbe plays or not. Their defense is better than most people seem to think, they can push the pace offensively and they have LeBron James. This is the type of game they need to win if they want to be taken seriously and it also wouldn’t hurt to quickly forget that thrashing by the hands of the Wizards.

Oh, and -135 is just too cheap for a King James-led team. Barring James randomly being scratched, this is the top play of the night.

My Pick
Lakers
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