In what was expected to the best game slated for Christmas Day, the undermanned Brooklyn Nets visit LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The reeling Lakers have lost four in a row while the Nets are just trying to scrape together enough bodies to take the court. Brooklyn had 10 players sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols, forcing postponement of its last three games. The Nets have not played since last Saturday.
NBA betting odds have it as the Lakers at -1.
- Game: Brooklyn Nets (21-9) at Los Angeles Lakers (16-16)
- Location: Crypto.com Arena
- Day/Time: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET
Nets vs Lakers
Nets Securing the Bag
The Brooklyn Nets had won four straight and seven of nine before a loss to Orlando last weekend.
They were in fine form at 21-9, leading the Eastern Conference after beating the likes of Atlanta, Philadelphia and Toronto before the COVID outbreak.
The loss to Orlando came short-handed, so it was a pleasing performance for coach Steve Nash.
“I told the guys (that I was) really proud of the effort,” Nash told ESPN. “We’ve got a bunch of guys playing extended minutes for multiple games for the first time. (So) overall, really proud of them and it was a great effort.
The Nets were doing it without Kyrie Irving, who has been cleared to play in games outside of New York but he is among a number of players still in quarantine.
We love what Patty Mills is doing and it could ruin the positive dynamic. The Nets have covered three of their last five spreads, so bettors have been cashing in with the classy team.
Brooklyn will be without Kevin Durant, who is averaging just under 30 points per game, but James Harden was among three players to clear the Covid protocols on Thursday.
The Nets are a much better defensive team, so it could be a low-scoring grinder.
We think money will come for the Nets on game day. The sportsbook can’t split them, but bettors don’t have much faith in the Lakers right now.
Lakers in Deep Water
Despite being 33 games into the season, the Los Angeles Lakers haven’t been able to take flight.
They have struggled with injury and poor form and are coming off a 138-110 thrashing by the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday to push their losing streak to four coming into this contest.
The Lakers scored under 93 points in two of those games, so despite having the 10th-best offense in the NBA, they’re struggling to stick with teams on the offensive end.
Having Anthony Davis out of contention isn’t ideal and Russell Westbrook isn’t the same scorer he used to be, although he put up 30 against the Spurs on Thursday. That puts a lot of pressure on James, who is a slower version of his old self.
They are 1-4 against the spread over their last five games, so bettors haven’t had much success backing the Lakers. However, they scored a 126-101 win over the Nets when they last met in April as a +11½ underdog.
Prior to that performance, the Nets had won three of the last four meetings.
We are a little surprised that betting online markets don’t have the Lakers as underdogs. We thought they would get around +3, so we don’t see value in backing the home team.
Fill Your Stocking with Nets
The Brooklyn Nets could give bettors another reason to celebrate on Christmas Day.
Bettors are getting excellent odds and with Harden returning to the lineup, we can’t overlook the visitors.
We don’t have much confidence in the Lakers winning, especially with Davis out of action and the dismal performance at home vs. San Antonio. He is crucial to have in the paint and on defense, so the Nets sharpshooters could have a field day.