Loading scores...
Odds and Ends

LeBron and Lakers vs Kyrie, Harden and Nets

by Vaughn Dalzell
Updated On: February 18, 2021, 5:06 pm ET

Top Game to Bet: Nets at Lakers (-2.5)

This could be the game of the year despite Kevin Durant (hamstring) and Anthony Davis (Achilles) both sitting out. The story of this matchup will be how many points each team can score on the opposing defense. The Nets are terrible defensively, will have the benefit of the doubt going up against a Davis-less Lakers squad that has had seven of the last nine games determined by 10 or fewer points.

One of the top trends per NBC Sports Edge Tool screams out points in this matchup. For Brooklyn, the Over is 21-3 (87.5%) in their last 24 games. Over the last five games, the Nets have allowed 116.4 points per game (19th) and 122.0 (22nd) in the past three. Without Davis, the Lakers have allowed 104 points to Minnesota, 115 to Chicago and 129 to Detroit (2 OT). The total scores of those contests were 216, 232 and 264 points. 

The Lakers average 113.0 points per game over the last five games (20th) and the Nets 122.0 points (3rd). Brooklyn is hitting 52.3% from the field (2nd) and 44.4% (1st) from deep in the last five games. The Lakers, however, rank dead last over the previous five contests with 26.8% from deep (30th). That could be the difference. If the Lakers are not hitting from deep against the Nets' lackluster defense, then two-pointers will not cut it versus Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Basketball is a game of runs and Brooklyn seems like the team more capable of going on excessive runs.

The Lakers have won eight of the last nine games overall and the Nets are winners of four straight. The Lakers are 7-3 SU in their last 10 home games but 3-7 ATS and 5-8 on the season. The Nets have won the last three road contests, all coming during this four game winning streak. The Nets are 7-2-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings in Los Angeles, and I will back them here to keep that train rolling. 

Against teams that now have a winning record, Brooklyn is 10-1 SU on the season. Versus squads with losing records, that number is 8-11 SU. I ride that trend again as this should be a competitive game down to the final minute. 

For a player prop, you can always go with old faithful in James Harden Over 10.5 Assists prop as long as Kyrie Irving plays (probable). Harden has recorded 11 or more free-throws in 13-of-16 games with the Nets. In nine of the teams 16 games, Harden has totaled 12 or more assists.

However, I like LeBron James Points, Rebound and Assists prop. LeBron averages 26.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 9.1 assists (45.2 PRA) in February (8 games). In his first game without Davis versus Minnesota, LeBron posted 30 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists (50 PRA). Over the last three outings, LeBron averages 18.6 combined rebounds and assists and 19.0 in the previous five. Versus Chicago and Detroit, LeBron recorded 34 PRA and 49 PRA.

LeBron's point total is 29.5 and 30.5, slightly too high for me, but in order to win this game, he will at least score 25 points. Based on his current projection of 8.9 rebounds and 8.2 assists tonight, I like him to score enough to go over his 46.5 PRA total. 

DraftKings lists LeBron at 46.5 PRA (-110), while BetMGM lists at 47.5 (-115) and FanDuel has him at 48.5 (-108). I would grab the 46.5 or 47.5 if possible as the 48.5 is too high. I would do 1.5 units at 46.5 PRA, 1 unit at 47.5, 0.5 unit for 48.5 or play the Under.

Bet Locked In: Nets +3 (1.5u), LeBron James Over 46.5 PRA (1.5u)

Editor’s Note: Get an edge with our premium Betting Tools that are packed with live odds, betting trends, predictions, player prop projections, our extensive Edge Finder and much more. And don't forget to use promo code HOOPS10 to get 10% off. Click here to learn more!

Top Team to Fade: Miami Heat and Sacramento Kings

Betting on the Miami Heat can make you miserable over the last two games. They have blown games versus the depleted Clippers down almost the entire starting lineup and an OT game last night (Wednesday) versus the Warriors. Miami is 1-3 on this road trip, with two more matchups after this contest.

Sacramento was 7-1 SU over eight games before losing four straight contests, all at home. This is the last game of the Kings homestand and they enter this winless. Both teams have been letdowns to bet on recently and now pitted against each other, I will pass and avoid the headache personally. 

Miami is 1-6 ATS in the last seven games versus Sacramento and when they cross the country and visit the Kings, that ATS record is 1-4 over the previous five. They have alternated wins over the last three meetings, but Sacramento won four consecutive before that. One of these squads will end a losing streak on Thursday, and good luck to whomever you decide to back.

NBC Sports Edge's tool gives Jimmy Butler an edge on his points, rebounds and assists prop of 37.5 (-110). The model projects Butler to record 21.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists (38.6 PRA). 

His free throw projections have him at 8.2 makes and 9.3 attempts tonight, a key stat versus a Kings team that allows the 10th-most free-throw attempts per game in the last 10 outings (23.5). Butler has scored 26 or more points in three of the last five games and 17 or more combined rebounds and assists in seven of the previous eight. He would be the guy to bet on versus the Kings. Butler averaged 22.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists over five games in the second night of a back-to-back. 

Thursday Betting Notes: Bucks -6

The Bucks were embarrassed at home by the Raptors, 124-113 in their last contest. Milwaukee is on a four-game losing streak, three of them coming on the road, but the final at home. 

The Bucks are one of the best teams across the league when coming off a home loss. Going back to the 2018-19 season, the Bucks are 19-0 SU after a home loss and 15-3-1 ATS. The spread is set at -6 after Tuesday's spread was -5.5 in favor of Milwaukee. 

The Raptors are 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games and the Bucks are 0-4 ATS in their last four games overall. Despite being on a four-game losing streak, Milwaukee gets a favorable opportunity to win here versus the same team back-to-back with a day off. With that one day of rest in between, Toronto is 5-0 ATS over the previous five games, while Milwaukee is 0-4 ATS in the last four. I would put a small wager on the Bucks ML and parlay it with another game you plan on watching or betting on this evening as the 19-0 SU mark is too tough to ignore. 

Vaughn Dalzell

Vaughn Dalzell is a former Division I SID, two-time IUP Alumnus and also a contributor on numberFire, FantasyPros and Bet The Prop. You can follow him on Twitter for more insight @VmoneySports.