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Lakers – Thunder

Lakers Thunder handicapping

The Los Angeles Lakers will host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night in the NBA.

The Lakers (21-16, 13-6 home) have 1 win and 2 losses since Lebron James got hurt on Christmas Day, and could have been 0-3 if not for a late rally at home against the Kings in their last game a few nights ago. That was a game the Kings lost more than Lakers won, as the Kings were in control until the last couple of minutes. That`s not to say LA has been bad. In fact, they played pretty well without Lebron, keeping the games close, but obviously they are a much worse side without the best player in the world.

The Thunder (23-13, 10-9 away) are the real deal this season after suffering a disappointing 1st round exit last year. Getting rid of Carmelo Anthony and bringing in Dennis Schroder has helped this team immensely, and now OKC has legitimately affirmed itself like one of the Top 3 teams in the Western Conference. The visitors are on the back of a blowout win over the Mavs a few nights ago, bossing that game from second one for a 20 point victory.

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Team news: The Lakers will continue to miss Lebron James and Rajon Rondo, while the Thunder will be again without Andre Roberson and Alex Abrines.

As previously stated, the Lakers have been decent in the three games without Lebron, playing arguably above expectations. However, they still found it hard to win games. Playing against OKC will be the most difficult test the Lakers faced without Lebron, and you have to feel that a victory for LA is unlikely.

The Thunder are really playing well, both home and away, and there`s no reason that should change in this clash. Paul George has been on an absolute tear recently, and Russell Westbrook is playing at his usual MVP level. Guys like Adams, Schroder or Grant also contribute on a nightly basis, making the Thunder a consistent team which does not have many ups and downs.

LA`s youth, exuberance and home crowd might have been enough to steal a win against the young Kings a few nights ago, but it is unlikely those factors will be enough to defeat a top quality and experienced OKC side.

Look for Westbrook to abuse Lonzo Ball, while George will be all over Kuzma or Ingram, leaving the Lakers with very few options offensively. Unless the Thunder have a miserable night, and / or the Lakers get crazy hot from three, this should be an away win.

My tip will be Oklahoma City to win this game. The handicap line is not that high at 5 points, but I feel odds on the straight win are good enough to allow us to bet on this safer option (as opposed to taking the point spread). I will back up my analysis with a stake of 10 units here. Prediction: LA Lakers – OKC Thunder 110 – 117.

Pick: Thunder
Odds: 1.48 @ Pinnacle
Stake: 10
Possible profit: 4.80
Event date: 3 January

About Rostick

Former bookie & water polo player. Rugby Union expert. - EDITOR INFO & STATS
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