LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers host Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, and tipoff from the Staples Center is set for 10:30 p.m. ET. The Lakers are riding a four-game winning streak and lead the Western Conference with an 11-2 record. L.A.'s prized offseason addition, Anthony Davis (shoulder), is probable for Tuesday's game, while Avery Bradley (leg) is out. Oklahoma City sits at 5-8, which places them 10th in the Western Conference standings, and Hamidou Diallo (questionable, knee) is the only rotation player listed on their injury report. This is the back end of a back-to-back for the Thunder, whom sportsbooks list as 11-point road underdogs. The over-under for total points is 210.5 in the latest Lakers vs. Thunder odds after falling as low as 209.5. Before you make any Thunder vs. Lakers picks and NBA predictions, you'll want to see what SportsLine's advanced computer model has to say.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and anyone who followed it last season beat the NBA odds and saw massive returns. The model finished 300-252 on all its top-rated picks. On top-rated against-the-spread and money line NBA picks alone, the model returned a whopping $4,280. It's off to a profitable start on all-top rated picks again this season, and enters Week 5 of the 2019-20 NBA season on a 9-4 run on all top-rated NBA spread picks
The model is well aware that Oklahoma City has yet to win a road game this season. They're 0-5 on the road, and a matchup against the Western Conference's top team after facing the Clippers the night prior isn't a logical place for their first road victory. Even if OKC didn't have to deal with fatigue, the Lakers rank first in the NBA in defensive efficiency and point differential, while also sitting top-10 in offensive efficiency and rebounding rate. Oklahoma City doesn't rank top-10 in a single one of those metrics.
The Thunder also have little answer for James from an individual matchup perspective. They play small, starting Terrance Ferguson at the three and Danilo Gallinari at the four and regularly using lineups that feature three guards. Those types of lineups could struggle getting stops against a Lakers team that regularly features LeBron at the three and Davis at the four.
Just because Los Angeles looked unstoppable lately, doesn't mean it will cover the Lakers vs. Thunder spread on Tuesday, though.
The model is also well aware that sportsbooks regularly overvalued the Lakers last year. Only the Knicks and Warriors covered the spread at a lower rate than L.A. (43.2 percent) during the 2018-19 season. Somehow, they were even worse when playing at home (42.5 percent). The Lakers have been better (9-4) against the spread this season, but still not as dominant as their record would indicate. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City has covered in 8-of-13 games, including three of its past four.
After a slow start for the Thunder, Paul has really turned it on lately. In eight November games, Paul has upped his scoring to 18 points per game, while also contributing seven assists and two steals. Combine Paul with breakout point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is averaging 20 points on the year, and OKC boasts a surprisingly formidable backcourt. With Los Angeles missing perhaps its best backcourt defender in Bradley, Paul and Gilgeous-Alexander may be able to exploit this defense.
So who wins Thunder vs. Lakers? And which side of the spread has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Thunder vs. Lakers spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks.