L.A. Lakers @ Atlanta
L.A. Lakers +5 -102 over Atlanta

Posted at 11:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.

Pinnacle +5 -102 BET365 +5 -110 Sportsinteraction +4½ -105 888Sport +5½ -118

L.A. Lakers +5 over Atlanta

Best Odds: -102 at Pinnacle

7:40 PM EST. Every time we put out a bet on the Lakers it feels like there needs to be more justification than other wagers. And not just because of LeBron haters. The Lakers are one of the most volatile teams in the association. One week they look like the same program that got to the Western Conference Finals in 2023, with a dangerous and nuanced roster that caught many of their opponents by surprise last season. The next week, they'll look like a shell of their best selves. Right now they're lacking consistency on defense, ranked 21st over the last two weeks and allowing 122 points per game to their last six opponents, and that includes subtracting 45 points from the Warriors' total in their recent double-OT win. Their recent results show their up and down nature. Lost 4 in a row, won 2 in a row, lost 2 in a row, won two in a row, loss, win, loss, two wins and then another loss - that's the roller coaster they've been riding the last month.

Their inefficiencies were on full display last night. On Monday they allowed 135 points to one of the lower scoring squads in the NBA (the Rockets average 113.7 ppg, ranked 21st). D'Angelo Russell, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James combined for 69 of the Lakers' 119 points, but they all struggled defensively. An early ejection for Jarred Vanderbilt, who clashed with Dillon Brooks, provided early motivation for the home team and Houston went on to dominate the first half, 78-60. Los Angeles couldn't catch up, but they were vocally frustrated and fired up after the affair in post-game interviews. We like that heading into their back-to-back against Atlanta.

But even if they weren't motivated at all, it might not matter, because their competition has been even more volatile and even more frustrating through three months of NBA action. At 11-35 (23.9%) ATS, the Atlanta Hawks are the worst covering team in the NBA. That remains true at home (4-18, 18% ATS), and only Detroit and Charlotte, who should probably never be forecasted to win, have more atrocious marks as the favorite. Atlanta is a wretched 5-19 (20.8%) ATS as chalk. In mid-January it seemed that new coach Quin Snyder was finally getting through with his team. The Hawks were playing some defense, and they won a few more games in the process (4-2 from Jan 10-19). But then it all came crashing down again. Injuries to their most important contributors (Trae Young, DeJounte Murray, De'Andre Hunter) haven't helped. Regardless, Atlanta has looked like the same piss-poor version that we've seen most of the season for the last two weeks: 24th in offense, 25th in defense, 28th in net rating.

Anthony Davis has played well and scored with ease against Clint Capela. LeBron James might not play tonight, but the Hawks are still beat up, too. Murray is questionable and didn't suit up in their contest on Sunday. Hunter remains questionable and hasn't played since December 20th. The Lakers, meanwhile, need to find their footing. After a game where they were out-muscled and out-performed for three out of four quarters last night, the Hawks will feel like a nice reprieve. The Lake-show also has significant size advantages across this matchup. We'll take the less ugly of the two, in a spot where they could easily win straight up.



Our Pick

L.A. Lakers +5 -102 (Risking 2.04 units - To Win: 2.00)

Atlanta 1H Team Total over 62½ +105
Charlotte +13 -110 over Golden State