The Los Angeles Lakers host the Golden State Warriors in a marquee matchup on Wednesday evening at the STAPLES Center. Two of the league's high-profile franchises will battle for the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, with the losing team relegated to an elimination matchup on Friday against the winner of Spurs vs. Grizzlies. The Lakers are 42-30 this season, with the Warriors finishing the regular season at 39-33 overall. LeBron James (ankle) is probable for Los Angeles, with Anthony Davis (shoulder) listed as questionable. Kelly Oubre (wrist) and Damion Lee (protocols) are out for Golden State.
Tip-off is at 10 p.m. ET in Los Angeles. William Hill Sportsbook lists the Lakers as 5.5-point home favorites, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 217.5 in the latest Warriors vs. Lakers odds. Before you make any Lakers vs. Warriors picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned over $9,100 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. The model is up almost $900 on its top-rated picks this season and entered the 2020-21 NBA Playoffs on a stunning 99-66 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread dating back to last season. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Warriors vs. Lakers spread: Lakers -5.5
- Warriors vs. Lakers over-under: 217.5 points
- Warriors vs. Lakers money line: Lakers -245, Warriors +205
- GS: The Warriors are 8-1 against the spread in the last nine games
- LAL: The Lakers are 4-4 against the spread in the last eight games
Why the Warriors can cover
Golden State is actually led by its defense. The Warriors are a top-five team in overall defensive efficiency, yielding only 109.4 points per 100 possessions to the opposition, and they are No. 4 in shooting efficiency allowed. Steve Kerr's team is also No. 7 in turnover creation, forcing a turnover on 14.6 percent of possessions, and they are a top-tier team in steals (8.2 per game) and assists allowed (23.8 per game). The Lakers have issues with ball security, turning the ball over on more than 15 percent of possessions, and that can help to fuel the Warriors.
On the offensive end, the Warriors lead the NBA in assists (27.7 per game), and they are effective from beyond the arc, converting 37.6 percent of their 3-point attempts. Much of that is traced to the individual brilliance of Stephen Curry, who is making 42.1 percent of his 3-pointers (on 12.7 attempts per game) and averaging 32.0 points, 5.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds per contest this season.
Why the Lakers can cover
The Lakers are excellent on the defensive end, setting the standard in the NBA this season. Los Angeles is allowing fewer than 1.07 points per possession, best in the league, and the Lakers are strong across the board. The Lakers are a top-five team in overall shooting efficiency allowed, including a top-five mark in 3-point percentage allowed (35.2 percent). Los Angeles is also elite at creating havoc, forcing a turnover on 15.2 percent of possessions defensively. The Lakers use their size effectively, ranking near the top of the NBA in defensive rebound rate (74.8 percent), free throw attempts allowed (20.5 per game) and blocked shots (5.4 per game).
Offensively, the Lakers have obvious star power, and they also maintain an above-average field goal percentage of 47.2 percent. Los Angeles uses the free throw line to its advantage, ranking No. 6 in the NBA in attempting 23.3 shots per game at the charity stripe.
How to make Lakers vs. Warriors picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 214 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations. You can get that pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Warriors vs. Lakers? And which side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that is on a roll on NBA picks.