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LeBron James
AP
Odds and Ends

Best Bets NBA: Lakers vs Celtics

by Covers.com
Updated On: January 20, 2020, 5:57 pm ET

LOS ANGELES LAKERS AT BOSTON CELTICS (+2, 223.5)

QUICK HITTER

Both the Celtics and Lakers allow an identical 26.3 first quarter points per game to opponents. But the Lakers are far better offensively in the opening stanza, putting up 29.3 ppg to Boston's 26.2 ppg.

With the Celtics scoring just 21.3 ppg in the first 12 minutes over their last three games, take the Lakers on the 1Q spread.

PICK: First Quarter Spread Lakers -0.5

 

FIRST HALF BET

Even when Walker and Brown have suited up for the C's they have struggled to put up points in the opening half. Boston averages just 53.8 ppg in the first 24 minutes (23rd in the league), and are coming off a contest where they put up just 51 first-half points against the Suns. 

With the Lakers allowing 53.9 ppg in the first half of contests, take the Under on Boston's first half team total.

PICK: First Half Team Total - Celtics Under 56.5

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TEAM/PLAYER PROP

With Davis expected to sit out for the sixth game in a row expect LeBron James to once again step up as the No. 1 scorer. Over the last five games the man with the fourth-most points in NBA history has scored more than 30 points in four contests. The only game in that stretch where he scored fewer than 30 points, he shot a highly uncharacteristic 36.8 percent from the field. 

Take the Over 27.5 on King James' points total.

PICK: Player Points Total - LeBron James Over 27.5  

 

FULL GAME TOTAL 

Boston and Los Angeles are tied for third in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 105.6 points per game. The Lakers hold opponents to an effective field goal percentage of 50 percent, the third-best figure in the league, while the Celtics rank 10th with an opponent EFG percentage of 51.4.  

While both teams are also very efficient on the offensive end of the court, they play at an average pace and the injuries to three players that average more than 20 ppg could prove crucial. The status of Davis, Walker and Brown should definitely be monitored leading up to this game but if they don't play the Under for this contest looks like a great bet.

PICK: Under 223.5   

 

 

FULL GAME SIDE 

While the Lakers could still be missing Davis for this game, they have gone 4-1 since The Brow has been out of the lineup with his latest injury. And that five game stretch has included wins against the Mavericks, Thunder and Rockets. With the Celtics also possible missing Walker and Brown these teams could be pretty even on the injury front. 

The Celtics could be forced to rely on Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward to score points but Hayward is prone to shooting slumps while Tatum will be forced to resort to low-percentage shots with how well L.A. defends the rim.

The Lakers offense will run through Lebron who almost always racks up points and assists regardless of the players around him (and against him). The Celtics have allowed opponents to shoot 46 percent from the field at TD Garden and that could prove costly against a Lakers squad that shoots a league-best 48.9 percent from the floor on the road. 

As good as the Celtics have been at home, going 16-5 to begin the season, the Lakers have actually been even better in away contests boasting an incredible 18-3 record. Take the Lakers to win and cover the spread.   

PICK: Lakers -2