While LeBron’s injury is bad for the Lakers’ playoff hopes, it has created opportunities for Malik Beasley and our NBA betting picks expect him to take advantage once again tonight — read more below.
Playoff motivations differ for a Pacific Division Sunday showdown between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers.
Golden State is hunting for a Top 4 spot in the Western Conference standings and home court in the opening round of the postseason. Star guard Stephen Curry could be back just in time, listed as probable to play his first game in a month.
Los Angeles, on the other hand, is trying to survive life without LeBron James and squeak into the 10th spot and get the final ticket to the play-in tournament.
I run down the spread and Over/Under total for this matinee matchup and give my best NBA picks and predictions for Warriors at Lakers on March 5.
Warriors vs Lakers best odds
Warriors vs Lakers picks and predictions
Friday’s loss to Minnesota was a disaster of a game for the Los Angeles Lakers, with only a few bright spots in that 110-102 home loss. One was Anthony Davis dropping 38 points and the other was former Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley, who scored 15 points on 5-for-11 shooting and snatched six rebounds.
Beasley has stepped up to fill the massive hole left by LeBron’s injury, producing points and rebounds in the future Hall of Famer’s absence. Beasley has a collective 38 points and 17 rebounds in that span and now faces a Golden State defense that doesn’t travel well.
Beasley had a massive day against the Warriors on February 23, scoring 25 points on 9-for-16 shooting. I don’t expect that large of an offensive eruption today, but I do like Beasley to continue to put up points in a fast-paced contest while bolstering his box score with work on the boards. His points + rebound prop is set at 19.5 (Over -115).
The Golden State Warriors will continue to roll out a smaller rotation with forward Andrew Wiggins away from the team, mixing in Curry with the guard-centric lineup of Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson, and Donte DiVincenzo.
Having Davis anchoring the paint as a rim protector drastically changes the way the Lakers can play the perimeter, allowing them to get their heels above the 3-point arc and a hand in the faces of Golden State’s shooters. Beasley will have opportunities to snag longer rebounds against a Dubs backcourt that doesn’t crash the offensive glass.
As for scoring, Beasley has a 3-point Over/Under of 3.5 for Sunday and his touch from distance has been a boon for an L.A. offense that struggles to produce from the perimeter. With James out (as well as Russell), scoring touches for the L.A.’s entire lineup are up and the Lakers are making 2.5 more triples on 39% shooting the past three games (vs. less than 34% success on the season).
Beasley, who is much more comfortable shooting on his home court (3.6 3-pointers per home game on 39.9% vs. 31.3% road), will get lots of looks from deep against the Dubs.
Golden State’s road woes stem from a defense that watches host teams fire at 40.5% success from outside for an average of 14.3 makes from distance (both second worst in the NBA). Beasley made the most of that space in his last run-in with the Warriors, hitting 7 of 11 from beyond the arc.
My best bet: Malik Beasley Over 19.5 points + rebounds (-115)
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Warriors vs Lakers spread analysis
Golden State opened as high as a 5.5-point road favorite with Curry expected to be back on the floor and the team enjoying a five-game winning streak. That spread has slimmed a bit with a market consensus of Warriors -5 as of Sunday morning.
Golden State made the most of an extended home stand, winning five in a row to jump to fourth in the Western standings. However, the Dubs are notoriously two-faced when it comes to home/away success. Golden State boasts a +7.6 net rating as hosts (sixth best) but that metric sinks to -6.5 away from the Bay (26th). That’s led to a league-worst 8-21 ATS record on the road.
Los Angeles will be without LeBron James for at least 10 games, but the team is expecting standout big man Anthony Davis to play Sunday afternoon. Davis has sat out some recent games with foot soreness and was the lone bright spot for L.A. in its most recent loss to Minnesota, scoring 38 points on 12-for-22 shooting while the rest of the team went 24 of 65 from the floor (37%).
The Lakers were briefly building momentum behind a new-look lineup but since James went down, Los Angeles is 1-2 SU and ATS.
Offense remains the most inconsistent part of L.A.’s approach, with the team shooting just over 44% from the floor the past three games. Guard D’Angelo Russell remains out and leaves L.A. very thin went it comes to scorers who can create their own opportunities.
These Pacific Division rivals played twice last month, with a fully-stocked Lakers lineup beating up on a thin Warriors roster that was down Curry and forward Andrew Wiggins (who remains out due to personal issues). Los Angeles won 124-111 and covered as 6-point home chalk – setting up an 11-point swing in fortunes (according to NBA odds) since that February 23 encounter.
Warriors vs Lakers Over/Under analysis
The Over/Under for this Sunday showcase hit the board as low as 235 points and has since grown to 236, with some buyback on the Under sinking it to 235.5.
That’s two points lower than the opening total for the most run-in between the Dubs and Lakers, which then got bet up to a closing total of 239 points on Feb. 23. The 124-111 final score stayed Under that number, with the Warriors shooting just 38% from the field including a dismal 14-for-49 performance from beyond the arc.
That game was played with a pace rating of 105 between two of the more up-tempo teams in the NBA. The Warriors and Lakers sit No. 1 and No. 2 in pace rating (possessions per 48 minutes) but L.A.’s transition attack loses a lot of steam with LeBron out of action and not attacking the rim.
With James out, the revamped L.A. roster is leaning into its improved outside shooting much more. The Lakers are averaging 13 threes per game the past three outings while knocking down 39% of those long-range looks – compared to an average of 10.5 triples on 33.7% shooting before this stretch.
The Warriors’ attack will also get a shakeup with Curry on the floor. The team didn’t suffer much of a dip in offensive production with the veteran sharpshooter out of action, with Dubs pumping out an advanced offensive rating of 118.5 in the 11 games without Curry. However, only three of those efforts came away from home – all losses (1-2 O/U).
Defense doesn’t travel for Golden State, which owns the No. 3 defensive rating inside the Chase Center but watches that metric balloon to 118.9 on the road – third worst. That mind-blowing split is why we see such a contrast in Over/Under outcomes, with a 13-20-1 O/U count as hosts but a 21-7-1 O/U record as visitors.
Warriors vs Lakers betting trend to know
The Warriors are 9-2-1 to the Over as road favorites this season. Find more NBA betting trends for Warriors vs. Lakers.
Warriors vs Lakers game info
|Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
|Sunday, March 5, 2023
|3:30 p.m. ET