NBA Betting Picks: Indiana Pacers at Los Angeles Lakers

The narrative around the new era ‘LeBron’ Los Angeles Lakers was supposed to go like this: LeBron shows up, dons the purple and gold and the Lakers proceed to dominate the Western Conference en route to yet another NBA Championship. Or at least that’s the impression that was given from many in the media and the Lakers’ fanbase. It didn’t quite work out that way. The Lakers struggled to find their footing early with LeBron though they may have finally done so winning 7 of their last 10 games.

In reality, there was no reason to think that it was going to work out according to the starry eyed narrative. It didn’t work like that when LeBron took his game to Miami and despite the ridiculous amount of talent on that Heat team including Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. It didn’t work out that way when Shaquille O’Neal came to the Lakers a decade or so earlier. It just doesn’t work out that way in professional sports. In some cases, newly acquired high level players can quickly assimilate their game to a team and vice versa. To use an example from another sport, John Tavares has done an impressive job of fitting in with the young nucleus of the Toronto Maple Leafs. More often than not, however, there are ‘growing pains’ as everyone gets used to everyone else.

The Indiana Pacers have been playing decent ball so far this year though they’ve struggled to find much in the way of momentum. They’ve now won six of their last nine including the first two games on their current road trip at Utah and Phoenix. That doesn’t make this game ‘forgettable’ for them but they do have to be feeling pretty good about their form. They’ve got a game at Sacramento on deck to finish off this trip.

It’s no surprise that the Lakers have been a huge money burner against the pointspread to this point. That’s the way things work when the ‘public’s’ sky high expectations of a team doesn’t match the reality of the situation. Los Angeles is 7-13 ATS overall, 5-10 ATS as a favorite, 3-7 ATS at the Staples Center and a woeful 1-5 ATS against Eastern Conference rivals. On the upside, they are 4-2 SU/ATS against opponents with winning records which suggests a tendency that you’d expect from elite level players and teams—they raise their game when faced with a legitimate challenge.

The point spread pricing pendulum might have swung too much in the opposite direction. The Lakers could be a bit undervalued and particularly if they are starting to find some cohesion. At any rate, they catch a Pacers team in the middle of a road trip on their home floor and without their leading scorer Victor Oladipo who will miss this game with a knee injury. A team that ranks 24th in points per game with Oladipo will be hard pressed to replace his 21.4 point average here. This is a game that the Lakers can win and the price looks a bit low given Oladipo’s absence.



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