NBA Odds: Lakers Try and Finish Off Hornets
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 4/27/2011
Maybe the Los Angeles Lakers finally took control of their first-round series with the upstart New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday night at the Staples Center. Led by Kobe Bryant, the two-time defending champs soundly defeated the visitors, 106-90, taking a 3-2 lead in the series that heads back to Louisiana for Thursday’s Game 6.
It hasn’t been easy for the No. 2 seed in the East. After shockingly dropping Game 1 at home, the Lakers won the next two by healthy margins, only to lose Game 4 on the road, a game that finished with Bryant rolling his left ankle and hobbling around the court.
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When Bryant left New Orleans Arena on crutches, odds makers knew they’d have to think long and hard about the point spread they’d post for Game 5. It wouldn’t be easy to predict how Bodog’s online sports bettors would react.
A quick glance at the line moves leading up to Tuesday’s contest revealed healthy support for the visitors, which at most books pushed the spread from Lakers by 10.5 to Lakers by 9.5.
Bryant, however, was just fine, and a highlight second-quarter dunk over Emeka Okafor was the proof.
"That's what he does," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "All this talk about his ankle -- did it look like his ankle was hurting? OK then. It is what it is. He made a spectacular play."
At Bodog, we’ve got the Lakers by 5.5 for Game 6. Even though the Hornets have covered three of the five spreads in the series, I expect we’ll see good support for the visitors on Thursday. Not that Bryant is necessarily 100 percent or the Hornets will just roll over and die in front of their fans; however, bettors love momentum and the Lakers clearly regained it on Tuesday.
Whether or not the Lakers have what it takes to win their third straight championship is another question. We’re giving them 3/1 odds to pull off the three-peat; only the Miami Heat, at 11/4, are heavier favorites.
The Chicago Bulls, meanwhile, are at 13/4 after eliminating the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 on Tuesday at the United Center. Credit to the Bulls for getting the job done, but I’m not sure they impressed many people in the process. Chicago finished the regular season with a 62-20 record, Indiana went 37-45, and the only blowout of the series came Tuesday. So perhaps Derrick Rose shouldn’t have sounded like the Bulls just won the title.
"Speechless right now," Rose said after dispatching the Pacers. "I really can't believe it. It's a great accomplishment. I'm happy for my teammates, happy for my coaching staff. They did a really great job."
You beat the Pacers, Derrick. Try and contain yourself.
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