The Lakers return to Staples for the first time since Kobe Bryant's death on Sunday. Photo by Chris Yunker. (Flickr)
- The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t played since Kobe Bryant’s death
- BetOnline favors Lakers by 12.5 points over Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night at Staples
- Get the odds, our pick, and all the info you need to bet the game below
The Los Angeles Lakers’ first game since Kobe Bryant’s death takes place this Friday, January 31st at 10:30pm EST.
The Lakers host the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on what is certain to be an emotional night. Portland Trail Blazers vs Los Angeles Lakers odds put the Lakers as heavy favorites to improve on their 36-10 record.
Led by MVP candidates LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers own the best record in the Western Conference and are fancied by many to win the title.
Portland sit 10th in the West, needing a strong second half of the season if they are to chase down the Memphis Grizzlies for the final post-season berth.
Portland Trail Blazers vs Los Angeles Lakers Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under at Bovada|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+13 (-110)||+550||Over 229.5 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Lakers||-13 (-110)||-900||Under 229.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Jan. 31.
Davis has been on the injury report since falling heavily in a game earlier this month. The former Pelicans big man is questionable for the visit of the Blazers – his availability is crucial news for potential bettors to follow. While the Lakers’ numbers are pretty even with Davis on or off the floor, and they have snatched some impressive wins without him, they are much less threatening offensively when he sits.
He’s a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, too. Portland boast the sixth-best offensive rating in the NBA over the last 10 games. The Lakers are rightly favored, and heavily so, but they become more vulnerable to Portland’s offensive firepower without Davis.
We will not know if Davis is playing until a few hours before the game. It’s worth waiting for that news before deciding on which wager to place.
As is key with any LeBron team, keeping perimeter shooters quiet is vital if the Blazers are to make this a competitive game. The Lakers are below-average as a team from three, but in Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma, they have a trio that can take the game away if they get hot from deep. Kuzma is streaky – Green and Caldwell-Pope are more reliable, shooting 37.5% and 43% from beyond the arc respectively.
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Despite winning three of their last four games, the Blazers have the third-worst defensive rating in the NBA over their last 10. They conceded 128 and 136 in their two losses to the Lakers earlier this season. Stopping James and Davis is impossible – making life difficult for the Lakers’ shooters is the best way to halt an offense that ranks fourth in the league.
The Blazers aren’t blessed with personnel to challenge James and Davis, but good hustle can begin to compensate against the non-superstar Lakers.
Where’s the Value?
It will be a difficult night. Emotions will be running high. There will be plenty of tributes to Bryant.
It will potentially act as inspiration, and could lead to a special performance from the Lakers, and particularly James.
The 13-point line feels about right. The value here might be in backing the ‘over’. Both games between these two teams back in December were high scoring, and with Portland’s combination of poor defense and offensive talent, 229 total points seems too low.
Pick: Over 229.5 total points (-110)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.