Los Angeles Lakers (27-12) +6, 198 at San Antonio Spurs (26-13), 9 pm Eastern Wednesday, ESPN
by Zman of Predictem.com
One team playing above its pre-season expectations meets another teams struggling to meet its lofty expectations when the Los Angeles Lakers visit the Alamo to take on the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night on ESPN.
NBA betting boards list San Antonio as a six-point home favorite for Wednesday’s game, with a total of 198. Also, the Spurs are posted at around -285 on various Vegas moneylines, with LA getting around +235 as a road underdog.
The Lakers were thought to be a playoff team before this season started, but not much more. And yet, after beating Denver Monday night 116-99, LA has won eight of its last nine games and sits in second place in the Pacific Division, just a game and a half back of the first-place Phoenix Suns.
Meanwhile, the defending league champions, even after beating Charlotte Monday 95-86, have gone just 9-10 after a 17-3 start. So going into Wednesday’s game, San Antonio sits in third place in the Southwest Division, but just a game and a half back of the first-place New Orleans Hornets.
These two teams have split two games so far this season. The Spurs beat LA back on Nov. 13 107-92, and the Lakers defeated San Antonio, which was without C Tim Duncan and G Tony Parker, 102-97 on Dec. 13.
Last season, Los Angeles took two of three games from the eventual champs. So over the course of the last five meetings in the series between these two teams, LA is 3-2 both straight up and against the spread, and the o/u is 2-3, as those five games have averaged 192 total points, excluding an overtime period the teams played last season.
This season, the Lakers are 23-15 against the spread overall, 11-6 straight up and 10-7 ATS on the road. On the other side of this match-up, San Antonio is 18-20 vs. the numbers, 19-4 straight up and 12-10 ATS at home.
Statistically, these two teams are very similar. The Lakers rank 3rd in the league in point differential at +6.4 per game, the Spurs 5th at +5.7. Los Angeles is shooting 47% from the field as a team, 37% from 3-point range and 76% from the free-throw line, while San Antonio is shooting 46% from the floor, 39% from beyond the arc and 75% from the stripe. The Lakers are holding opponents to 44% FG shooting, the Spurs 45%. And San Antonio ranks 7th in the league in rebounding at +2.0 per game, LA 9th at +1.6 per game.
The Lakers will continue to play without leading rebounder Andrew Bynum, who’s out until probably March with a knee injury. LA is 2-1 so far without Bynum.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks Los Angeles 3rd at 95.8, the Spurs 6th at 94.6. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 2.8.
The o/u is 19-19 in Lakers games this season, which are averaging 209 total points, while the totals are 16-23 in San Antonio games, which are averaging 189 points.
Zman’s Pick: Spurs -6.5.