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NBA Focus: When to Bet the Lakers

Kobe Bryant

It’s been a year of transition for the Los Angeles Lakers as they’ve basically gone from being the laughingstock of the NBA to a somewhat sympathetic club as Kobe Bryant conducts his farewell tour. At dead last in the Western Conference the only positive direction this team is going in is to the top of the NBA Draft, but if you’ve been paying attention, the team has been quite profitable for bettors lately. 

The Lakers are now an improbable 7-1 ATS over their last eight games, despite winning just two of those games SU. The run includes covering the spread in five road games in which they’ve been an average of a 12.5-point underdog. 

Being the dog is nothing new for the non-showtime Lakers, as they’ve been favorites just three times this season, where they’re 1-2 SU and ATS, but being a big dog night-in and night-out has made them a good bet… if you know where to look.

The Lakers have faced double-digit spreads on the road 17 times this season, but have kept things tighter than oddsmakers have given them credit for as they’re 7-1 ATS in their last eight road games as an underdog of 10 or more points.

Even at home the Lakers don’t get much respect, as they’ve been dogs of 10+ points seven times, but have rewarded their backers (if such a thing exists) by going 5-2 ATS in those games.

Kobe and company are a perfect 6-0 ATS in their last six games vs other Western Conference clubs, and have managed to not get beaten up on too badly vs Eastern Conference teams, going 14-8 ATS on the season.

Another trend to be on the lookout for — Kobe Bryant has been inactive for 10 games this season, and in all but one of those games, the Lakers went UNDER the posted total.

With games vs the likes of Golden State, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, and their roommates, the Clippers left on the schedule, the Lakers are likely to see lots of high spreads before the season runs out. It’s also likely that Kobe will sit out a few games, especially in back-to-back game situations in which the Lakers have several. So, while everyone else is laughing at them, you might be able to laugh all the way to the bank if you take the Lakers in the right situation.