Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers Betting Predictions

Thunder vs Lakers NBA
Oklahoma City vs. Los Angeles, NBA Betting Predictions, January 13

The Oklahoma City Thunder try to bounce back after having their three-game winning streak snapped Tuesday as they host the defending champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, on Wednesday. The Lakers won in Houston on Tuesday night, so both teams are on the second night of a back-to-back for this matchup. With those things being equal, Los Angeles should push its winning streak to four on Wednesday.

Thunder vs. Lakers Betting Odds

The Oklahoma City Thunder fell out of the top-eight in the Western Conference with a loss to San Antonio on Tuesday night to snap a three-game winning streak. It’s been an interesting start to the season for the Thunder, who are an even 5-5 so far, with no real superstar on the roster. Oklahoma City has a lot of strong role players who play with a lot of heart and grit, but it has been tough for the Thunder to stack up with the more talented teams in the league.

Oklahoma City has very little time on the turnaround with the defending champions coming to town Wednesday night. The Los Angeles Lakers have won three straight and seven of their last eight to move further into the lead in the Western Conference after winning in Houston on Tuesday. There is no doubting Los Angeles’ star presence with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, though only James will likely play Wednesday night. Davis has sat out one game in each of the Lakers’ previous two back-to-backs and Davis scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds Tuesday night.

This game will be decided by how well the Thunder can defend on the interior because Oklahoma City is not a dangerous offensive team. Oklahoma City ranks in the top-10 in defensive efficiency, but ranks 28th out of 30 teams in both offensive efficiency and points per game. More specifically, Oklahoma City is allowing the most two-point baskets per game in the NBA and ranks in the middle in terms of 2-point percentage defense, yet leads the league in fewest 3-pointers allowed and ranks fifth in 3-point percentage defense. The Lakers have plenty of players on the interior with James and Montrezl Harrell, specifically, who can take advantage of the space in the paint.

That is one of the main reasons, I think LeBron James reaches 30 points for the first time this season on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City. The basketball betting sites in New Jersey are offering +310 odds on James to score 30-plus points and the Lakers to win, a fair bargain for this situation. If the Thunder are going to give James the room to attack the rim, he will take it with ease and I don’t see anyone on Oklahoma City’s roster who can slow down James or prevent him from getting to the rim off the dribble. The best chance is Al Horford helping at the rim on James, but that seems like a good recipe for James to draw fouls and score at the free throw line.

Los Angeles is a nine-point favorite on the NBA betting sites, and while that may seem harsh, it’s hard to see how Oklahoma City will stack up. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the only Thunder player averaging more than 12.5 points per game, and six guys averaging 10-12 points per game won’t cut it against the Lakers. It especially won’t work if the Thunder continue to take the third-most 3-pointers in the league yet rank 26th in 3-point percentage. It just seems unwise to pick against the Lakers in these NBA betting predictions, so I’ll bet Los Angeles to win by at least 11 points at +115 odds.

My Prediction

Los Angeles -9

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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