NBA Picks: Spurs at Lakers Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 4/12/2011
It’s the final NBA on TNT doubleheader of the regular season tonight. It looks like two nice matchups on paper, but in reality three of the four teams have zilch to play for this evening. But thanks to a recent slide, the Lakers still do and now can’t really rest their starters like they probably would want to. Actually, to say that the Spurs have nothing to play for isn’t totally accurate: They have the West’s top seed locked up, but are just one game ahead of the Chicago Bulls for the overall No. 1 seed in the NBA playoffs. But they aren’t really thinking about that.
How the Teams Enter
Talk about two streaking teams. A little over a week ago this game looked like it might be for the West’s top seed because San Antonio was on the skids, having lost six in a row. But the Spurs have since turned it around and have won four straight. But Coach Gregg Popovich has already entered into mini-shutdown mode. In Saturday’s win over Utah, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker all started and played a little more than 20 minutes, while Antonio McDyess got the night off. Popovich said he's "certainly not going to overplay anybody" with the playoffs starting soon. The Spurs must win their final two games to match their franchise-record 63 wins set in 2005-06.
Meanwhile, there appears to be a bit of panic in Los Angeles. After winning 17 of 18 after the All-Star break to put pressure on the Spurs, the Lakers have lost five in a row, their longest losing streak since 2006-07. Sunday’s loss at home to Oklahoma City was shocking in that the Thunder went on a 16-2 late run to put things away. Defense has been the main culprit for L.A. in this skid. In the first half Sunday, for example, the Lakers gave up 66 points -- their most in a half this season. Now that No. 2 seed in the West is up for grabs, although L.A. still controls its destiny.
Spurs at Lakers Betting Story Lines
This losing streak means that the Miami Heat (and Bulls obviously) have clinched home-court vs. the Lakers should the two meet in the NBA Finals. The Celtics are right there with L.A. As for the West race, the Mavericks (56-25) are half a game ahead of the Lakers (55-25) for the second spot after their 98-91 victory over Houston on Monday night. Oklahoma City (55-25) sits only half a game behind the Lakers for third place. The Mavericks face the Hornets on Wednesday to end their season. The Lakers simply need to win this one and at Sacramento on Wednesday and the second seed is theirs no matter what else happens. Should the Lakers lose one of their two remaining games, they would only secure a higher seeding if Dallas loses to New Orleans.
Last season the Lakers lost nine of their last 13 games, but that team didn’t have Kobe Bryant for four of its final five games while Andrew Bynum also sat out with an Achilles injury. And, of course, it went on to win a second consecutive title. Lakers reserves Matt Barnes (knee) and Steve Blake (illness) both missed practice Monday.
It’s hard to know what Popovich will do tonight in terms of his starters, but the San Antonio Express-News says that while “history would suggest a heavy prescription of rest for Spurs regulars over the next two games, Popovich seems to be leaning toward employing a quasi-standard lineup.” The paper does list San Antonio’s projected starting five as normal – but there’s no way those guys play heavy minutes.
The Spurs own a 2-1 lead in the season series, looking to beat Lakers three times in same season for first time since 2005-06. But Los Angeles beat the Spurs, 99-83, in San Antonio last month, becoming only the second team in the Spurs' history to outscore them by more than 20 in the first quarter of a game in San Antonio.
Spurs at Lakers Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Lakers are seven-point favorites with the total at 194 on NBA betting odds. L.A. is 29-11 at home and 15-25 ATS. San Antonio is 25-14 on the road and 25-13-1 ATS.
The Lakers are 2-7 ATS in their last nine home games. They are 1-4 ATS in their past five following a double-digit home loss.
San Antonio is 1-4 ATS in its past five vs. a team with a winning record.
The ‘over’ is 8-0 in the Spurs’ past eight vs. the Western Conference.
The ‘under’ is 5-1 in L.A.’s past six.
The ‘under’ is 7-0 in the past seven meetings in L.A.
The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the past five.
NBA Picks: Spurs at Lakers Predictions
I’d be shocked if Duncan actually plays for San Antonio. His ankle still isn’t 100 percent healed from a nasty sprain. And I don’t think that Jackson will call off the dogs in what is likely the final regular-season home game of his Lakers career. L.A. does admit it wants the No. 2 over Dallas. So give the points tonight and take the ‘under’ thanks to a depleted Spurs lineup.
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