The Lakers play the second of a back-to-back in New York City as they take on the Nets Thursday night at Barclays Center. Los Angeles is coming off a 100-92 win over the Knicks on Wednesday where they did not cover the 11.5-point spread. The Lakers have now dropped two of their last three games against the number.
The Nets have been a losing bet in the first quarter this season going 20-22 ATS and 10-12 at home. While the Lakers have been able to consistently get off to fast starts with a 25-17-1 ATS record in the opening stanza this season.
It’s been almost a month since Anthony Davis has appeared in both legs of a back-to-back. Davis is not listed on the Los Angeles injury report and is expected to suit up after 28 points in 30 minutes against the Knicks. At full strength, the Lakers are a good bet in the first quarter.
Pick: Lakers -1.5 First Quarter Spread
Despite having a sub-.500 ATS record in the first quarter, the Nets are actually 26-16 against the number in the first half this season. Brooklyn outscored Philadelphia 68-64 in the opening half on Monday night but the 76ers rallied to win the game 117-111 on the strength of a Ben Simmons triple-double. Brooklyn fell to 5-8 when leading at halftime on the road this season.
The reverse splits favoring the Nets in the first half are puzzling, but Los Angeles still has all the momentum in this matchup. Kyrie Irving is expected to play despite missing the Sixers game with a mild hamstring injury. Even if Irving plays you can double up on the Lakers to cover the first-half number.
Pick: Lakers -3 First Half
LeBron James recorded just five assists in Wednesday's win over the Knicks, breaking a string of three-straight games with double-digit assists, including a season-high 19 last week against the Magic. James is averaging 11.0 assists per game and is shouldering the majority of the ball-handling duties for the Lakers this season. With Davis back in the lineup and contributing on offense at a high level, James’ assist prop will continue to be a strong play every night.
Pick: LeBron James Over 10.5 Assists -138
Both Los Angeles and Brooklyn have been profitable teams to the Under this season. Lack of rest for the Lakers has not favored Over bettors either as the Under is 3-2 on the second night of a back-to-back this season.
James and Davis will get theirs, but covering a high total also requires the role players for Los Angeles to keep up. Sharpshooter Danny Green is just 3-of-13 shooting over the last two games, a stretch where the Lakers are averaging just 103.5 points.
The Lakers held the Knicks to just 92 points and forced 17 turnovers two days after allowing a season-high 139 in a blowout loss to the Celtics. All of the trends we uncovered pointed to a low-scoring matchup as the Under is also 14-2 in the last 16 meetings at Barclays Center.
Pick: Under 227
The Lakers held the Knicks to just 44 points in the second half of Wednesday’s win as James pilfered a season-high five steals. He will have similar success against a struggling Nets squad that is ranked 28th in the NBA averaging 16 turnovers per game this season.
Brooklyn is 0-4 ATS in their last four games despite the return of both Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert to the lineup. The matchup to watch will be the stringy Nets field-goal defense (43.8%) against the Lakers league-leading field-goal offense (48.4%).
The Lakers have not been bothered by the back-to-back games this season. Los Angeles is 4-1 ATS with no rest while Brooklyn is just 4-6 ATS with a rest advantage. Don’t be afraid to swallow points with the Lakers despite them not covering against the Knicks.
Pick: Lakers -5.5
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