Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Los Angeles Lakers Pick 1/13/18
Cleveland Cavaliers (8-35 SU, 19-24 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (23-20 SU, 18-24-1 ATS)
When: Sunday, January 13th, 2019 – 9:30 PM ET
Where: Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA
TV: TSN / NBA TV / FSN
Point Spread: CLE +9.5 / LAL -9.5
Power Rankings: Los Angeles -16
Takeaways From Cleveland and Los Angeles’ Most Recent Games
Coming into this contest, the Cavaliers are asking themselves when their 12-game losing streak will come to an end? Cleveland steps into this contest with no definitive answers here as they suffered yet another blowout loss on Friday in Clutch City when the Houston Rockets throttled the Cavs by a score of 141-113. The Cavaliers came nowhere close to covering as a 13.5-point underdog. Cleveland has lost five of their last six by a margin of 16 points or more.
The Lakers come in off a 113-95 loss on Friday when Los Angeles traveled to Salt Lake City to square off with the Utah Jazz. Los Angeles failed to cover as they were priced as an 8.5-point underdog. Los Angeles is 2-4 SU in their previous six outings.
How the Public is Betting the Cleveland-Los Angeles Game
Currently, 72% of the betting public has jumped aboard the Lakers. In light of the significant lean, the line has yet to move.
These two teams last met in November when LeBron James had his homecoming to his former team. The Lakers pulled off a 109-105 win in Cleveland allowing the Cavaliers to cover as a nine-point underdog. Overall, the Lakers have won the last two meetings dating back to March 2018. Previous to this, the Cavaliers owned a seven-game win streak against the Lakers.
Though the central plotline surrounding this game was supposed to be the second meeting of LeBron James against his former team. Unfortunately, LeBron will be sitting this one out as he will be on the sideline until mid-January due to a groin strain. In addition to The King being absent, the Lakers will also be without veteran Point Guard Rajon Rondo who will also be out of action until late January as he battles a finger injury. Cleveland also has a couple key injuries to report, including a foot injury to Power Forward Kevin Love who is not expected back until after the All-Star Break. Shooting Guard J.R. Smith is also out indefinitely due to personal reasons.
Can Cleveland Keep This One Competitive? Let Alone End Their Skid
It has already been highlighted what kind of woes the Cavaliers are enduring. In addition to their aforementioned losing streak, the Cavaliers have produced a disparaging 3-18 SU mark on their road where they have lost their last seven outside of Cleveland. As owners of the worst record in the NBA, many takers will feel that will offer little upside here. However, Cleveland commits fewer turnovers compared to the Lakers and own the deeper bench as they get a 9.5-point swing in their favor from bench scoring (Cleveland averages 44.3 bench points per game to Los Angeles’ 34.8). This is a significant advantage for Cleveland to work.
Can The Lakers Bully the Cavaliers In the Paint?
The Lakers are the worst free throw shooting team in the NBA as they sit at the bottom of the league in free throw percentage 68.6% and also are last in opponent’s success rate from the charity stripe (78.8%). This is another edge that the Cavaliers can exploit as they are a top-ten free throw shooting outfit landing 79.7% of their attempts. The Lakers will have to rely on their 14th-ranked scoring offense (111.8 points per game) to get the job done against Cleveland’s 23rd ranked defense that gives up 113.7 points per outing and create enough separation from the Cavaliers to notch the win. Against Utah, the Lakers got 56 of their 95 points in the paint. They will have to apply a similar strategy here to get it done against the Cavaliers who gave up 62 points in the paint against the Pelicans on Wednesday.
The Cavaliers are 1-4 ATS in their last five meetings with the Lakers. For those that like to play Totals, the Over is 10-1 ATS in the previous 11 contests between both sides. In Los Angeles, in particular, the Over has been the successful wager in the last five matches in the City of Angels.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Cleveland +9.5
Given how the Cavaliers have looked as of late, it is very easy for the Lakers to look past them here as an easy win. This in itself creates the prospect of Cleveland not only covering, but possibly giving the Lakers a scare, or maybe the Cavs might just end their losing streaks. After all, the Cavaliers have some large angles to work with their edge in turnovers and bench play along with Los Angeles’ troubles in the free throw game. However, the fact remains that the Cavaliers offer little appeal as a whole to most bettors given their current state. The only way the Cavs will get any kind of action is by the market inflating the point spread to entice bettors to back them. It is for this reason that the Cavaliers and Lakers have near identical against the spread records despite Los Angeles playing above .500-basketball this season while the Cavs have the worst record in the league. We’ll take advantage of a likely inflated line here and take the points.