Los Angeles Lakers (28-15) +7, 197 at Detroit Pistons (32-13), 7:30 pm Eastern
by Zman of Predictem.com
The Los Angeles Lakers have played some pretty good ball so far this season, surprising some by staying so close to the top of both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference. But LA will be up against it for the next couple of weeks as they begin a nine-game road trip, and shorthanded to boot, when they visit the Detroit Pistons Thursday night in Motown.
NBA Sportsbooks list Detroit as a 7 1/2-point home favorite for Thursday’s game, with a total of 197. Also, the Pistons are posted at right around -350 on the moneyline, with LA getting +275 as road underdogs.
The Lakers trailed the New York Knicks Tuesday night 100-91 in the fourth
quarter before rallying for a 120-109 victory. Still, LA has lost four of
its last six games to fall 3 games back of the Phoenix Suns in the Pacific
Division. The Lakers also sit in fifth place in the Western Conference standings,
2 games back of the fourth-place Dallas Mavericks.
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Detroit had lost six of nine games, but has won three straight after beating Indiana Tuesday 110-104. The Pistons lead the Central Division by 6 games over the second-place Cleveland Cavaliers, and are within four games of the Boston Celtics for the top spot in the Eastern Conference race.
Both teams have turned profits for their regular financial backers this season. LA is 24-18 against the spread, 11-8 straight up and 10-8-1 vs. the numbers on the road, while Detroit is 27-17 ATS, 15-4 SU and 13-6 vs. the numbers at home.
In the first meeting between these two teams this season back in November in LA, the Lakers beat the Pistons 103-91, using 23 offensive rebounds to pick up some easy baskets along the way. But Detroit was playing without both guard Chauncey Billups and F Antonio McDyess that night because of injuries. Still, the Pistons led that game by six points heading into the fourth quarter before LA outscored them 41-23 the rest of the way. Last season, the Pistons took both games from the Lakers by scores of 93-78 and 97-83. Also, those last three games in the series between these two teams have all stayed under their totals by averaging 182 total points.
Statistically speaking, Detroit ranks 2nd in the league in point differential at +7.4 per game, while LA ranks 5th at +5.5.
The Lakers are shooting 48% from the field as a team this season, 37% from 3-point range and 75% from the free-throw line, while the Pistons are shooting 46% from the floor, 37% from long range and 76% from the line.
Both teams are limiting opponents to 44% FG shooting this season, and while LA ranks 9th in rebounding at +1.6 per game, Detroit ranks 12th at +1.0.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks the Pistons 2nd at 97.5, the Lakers 7th at 94.8. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 3.15.
LA has been playing without centers Andrew Bynum and Chris Mihm and forward Trevor Ariza, who are all suffering from various leg injuries. And forward Luke Walton tweaked his hip in Tuesday night’s game, left in the first quarter, and is listed as questionable for Thursday’s game.
The o/u is 21-21 in Lakers games this season, which are averaging 209 total points, while the totals are 20-24 in Detroit games, which are averaging 186 points.
Zman’s Pick: Take the Pistons at -7.5.