The Lakers and Warriors meet in the NBA play-in tournament on Wednesday.
Tipoff is scheduled for 10:15 p.m. ET at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The game will be televised on ESPN. The winner advances to the Western Conference playoffs as the No. 7 seed. The loser will play in an elimination game Friday against the winner of the Spurs-Grizzlies matchup.
The defending champion Lakers (42-30) had the seventh-best record in the Western Conference. LeBron James missed 45 games and dealt with a nagging injury for most of the regular season. He re-aggravated that injury in the regular-season finale against the Pelicans on Sunday. James is expected to play, however, and Los Angeles closed the season with a five-game win streak.
Golden State (39-33) won its last six games for the eighth-best record in the Western Conference. Stephen Curry won the NBA scoring title averaging 32 points per game, and the Warriors closed the season on a six-game win streak. Golden State missed the playoffs in 2020.
It’s a superstar play-in game that should grab the sports world’s attention Wednesday night.
Here’s everything to know about betting on the Lakers and Warriors, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for the play-in game.
Lakers vs. Warriors odds
- Spread: Lakers -5
- Over/under: 219.5
- Moneyline: Lakers -210, Warriors +176
Three betting trends to know
— The Lakers won two of the three regular-season meetings with the Warriors, and Los Angeles was 2-1 ATS as a favorite in those games. Golden State won the first meeting 115-113 on Jan. 18. The Lakers won 117-91 on Feb. 28 and 128-97 on March 15. James played in all three games.
— The Warriors are 17-23 ATS as an underdog this season, and that record drops to 7-16 ATS as an away underdog. The Lakers are 24-26-1 ATS as a favorite this season, and they are 12-17 ATS as a home favorite.
— Golden State is 6-0 ATS through its current winning streak and is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games. Los Angeles is 2-3 ATS through its current winning streak and 4-6 ATS in its last 10 games.
Three in-game trends to watch
James played in Los Angeles’ last two games, and he averaged 24.5 points, seven assists and four rebounds in those games. He played in less than 30 minutes in both games, however. How will those minutes be managed if it’s tight in the second half?
Los Angeles is just 5-4 this season when James scores 30 or more points. He is more valuable as the facilitator. The Lakers are 9-3 this season when he dishes out 10 or more assists, and one of those victories was the 31-point blowout against the Warriors.
Pope on Curry
Success is a loose term, but Los Angeles guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has done an admirable job of defending Curry in the past.
I don’t think there’s such a thing as a “Stephen Curry stopper.” He can drop 50 on anyone.
But Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has had as much success against him as anyone. Hard to top holding 2013-21 Curry to 20.1 PPG on 41/33/91 shooting. pic.twitter.com/KmDwCT1jFQ
— Sam Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) May 17, 2021
Curry can still go off. Since April, Curry averages 37 points per game and is shooting 43.7 from 3-point range in that 23-game stretch. The Warriors are 10-3 when Curry hits eight threes more in a game, and that might be the target to watch.
In three regular season games, this season, Curry shot 9 of 26 from 3-point range. That will not be good enough to beat the Lakers.
Which No. 1 pick steps up?
Anthony Davis only played in one of the regular-season meetings, but he had 17 points and 17 rebounds in that victory. Like James, Davis played in the last two regular-season games. That will be a steep challenge for Kevon Looney on the block. Davis is a good bet to lead the Lakers in scoring in this game.
Then there’s Andrew Wiggins, who likely will guard James and needs to be a factor in the offense. Wiggins has shaken off injuries from the past two seasons to average 18.6 points per game. Will the former Cleveland No. 1 pick who was traded to Minnesota as part of the Kevin Love trade play a starring role in this game?
Lakers vs. Warriors stat to know
While the focus will be on Curry and James, Draymond Green also is familiar with the rivalry between the two players given the four NBA Finals matchups from 2015-18.
Green averaged just five points per game in the three regular-season meetings, but he had 5.8 assists and five rebounds in those games. Green needs to be a more active rebounder in this game; the Warriors are 6-1 when he hits 12 or more rebounds. Green also likely will guard either James or Davis in spots, so he cannot run into foul trouble or pick up a technical foul. He had 14 technical fouls this season.
Lakers vs. Warriors prediction
Both teams have been hot the last five games. Golden State averaged 123 points in that stretch, and the Lakers are at 116 points in the same five-game stretch.
That is why the potential for a high-scoring classic exists, and James and Curry can carry that. Los Angeles guard Dennis Schroder will be a key player in controlling that tempo for the Lakers.
The first half will be fun, but Los Angeles will tighten up in the fourth quarter. Davis and James will power the final scoring run, and Los Angeles gets the No. 7 seed in the West.
Final score: Lakers 118, Warriors 111