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Lakers Ready to Extend Winning Streak vs Pelicans

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are set to play the New Orleans Pelicans on January 15.

The past and present of New Orleans' power forward position will be on full display Friday night at Staples Center as the defending-champion Lakers host the Pelicans. The Lakers (10-3 SU, 7-6 ATS) are comfortably favored despite struggling at home to start the season, while the Pelicans (4-6 SU, 4-6 ATS) will be looking to put the brakes on a four-game losing streak.

New Orleans Pelicans vs Los Angeles Lakers
  • Date/Time: January 15, 10 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Staples Center
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • Opening Odds: Lakers -8.5 | O/U 219 (Line History)
  • Pelicans vs Lakers Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The Lakers open the betting cycle as 8.5-point favorites, marking the sixth time in the past eight games they've been favored by eight or more points. The total for Friday's encounter is set at 219.

New Orleans News & Notes

The Pelicans will happily welcome back second-year superstar Zion Williamson after he missed the previous game due to an inconclusive COVID-19 test. And New Orleans would love to see the former No. 1 overall pick repeat his performance from his first road meeting against the Lakers, when he erupted for 29 points in a 118-109 loss last Feb. 25.

His return could be just what the Pelicans need to overcome their spate of disappointing results in close games. All four losses on their current cold streak have come by eight or fewer points, including a narrow five-point defeat to the Clippers on Wednesday. It's a pattern that has carried over from last season, when New Orleans went 2-6 in games decided by three or fewer points.

Los Angeles News & Notes

Beating inferior opponents might not seem like much of a feather in a team's cap, but those wins still count – and the Lakers have been better than anyone at winning the games they're supposed to win. After boasting the best record in the Western Conference against sub-.500 teams at 32-5, they've followed up by going 7-0 in that situation so far this season.

There's more bad news for the Pelicans, as well: The Lakers are starting to roll, having strung together four consecutive wins (with the previous three coming by 17 or more points). LeBron James has been the catalyst over that stretch, along with forward Anthony Davis, who will be eager to face the team that made him the No. 1 overall pick in 2012.

Betting Pick: Lakers -8.5 (-110)

Los Angeles is one of only two teams to rank in the top-5 in both offensive and defensive efficiency – and even with Zion back in the lineup the Pelicans can't hope to keep pace here.

Shark Bites
  • The Pelicans are 4-9 ATS in their past 13 games.
  • The UNDER is 8-3 in the Lakers' last 11 games.
  • The Lakers have won each of the previous 6 meetings.