Lakers Open as Underdogs to Make the 2023 Playoffs Outright

Lebron James Laker Question Mark Background

  • The Los Angeles Lakers are not favored to make the playoffs outright next season.
  • Online sportsbook BetOnline has the Lakers as a -130 favorite to finish UNDER 6.5 place in the Western Conference.
  • Only the Top 6 seeds in each conference are guaranteed outright spots in the NBA’s postseason.

The Los Angeles Lakers are not expected to make the playoffs next season, at least outright.

According to online sportsbook BetOnline, the Lakers are a -130 betting favorite to finish under 6.5 place during the 2022-23 season and are just at even money to finish over 6.5 place in the Western Conference next campaign.

Only the Top 6 in each conference are guaranteed an outright spot in the NBA playoffs with teams 7-10 playing in a play-in tournament for the final two playoff spots. At Over 6.5, that could be anywhere between 7 to bottom.

Lakers With 7th Best Odds to Win the 2022-23 Western Conference

Despite finishing with the 11th best record in the Western Conference last season, the Lakers opened with the 6th best odds to win the Western Conference championship next season. But with two teams tied for 4th ( Mavericks and Grizzlies at +900), the Lakers are still 7th in the early Western Conference odds boards.

The newly-crowned 2022 NBA champions Golden State Warriors have opened as the +275 odds on favorite to repeat as West champions. Meanwhile, the L.A. Clippers are second favorites at +325 while the Phoenix Suns are at +600. The Denver Nuggets at +950 are behind the Mavs and Grizzlies who are at +900. The Lakers then enter the picture at +1000 odds.

Looking down at the ladder, however, 2022 playoff teams Utah, Minnesota, and New Orleans are listed below the Lakers at +2200, +3000, and +200, respectively. The Jazz finished 5th last season while the Wolves and Pelicans are the teams that emerged from the Play-in tournament.

Kyrie Opts in

The Lakers were heavily-linked to a Kyrie Irving trade in the past week or so. In fact, they opened as the odds-on-favorite to be the top non-Brooklyn destination for Irving. However, Irving chose to opt-in to his $37 million player option on Monday, essentially ending all hopes of a possible reunion with LeBron James in Lala Land.

With their top trade target gone, the Lakers might have to gut it out with Russell Westbrook this season. Los Angeles has been rumored to be shopping Russ to other teams but so far, there have been no takers. If Westbrook stays, the Lakers will have to win with him, LeBron, and the oft-injured Anthony Davis leading the way.

The Clippers will be adding John Wall via free agency, making them a top contender to make the playoffs next season. That makes Golden State, Phoenix, Memphis, Dallas, Denver, and the L.A. Clippers the probable Top 6 in the West. So if the Lakers are going to cash the OVER 6.5 place bet, they will have to take out one of the teams in that list, while shrugging off the Jazz, Wolves, and Pelicans on the other side. That’s a tough task for first-year head coach Darvin Ham.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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