Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers – NBA, January 18, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| January 18, 2021 6:32 am PST

The Lakers have started this season where they left off last season, and they could even perhaps be better if that is at all possible. The Warriors have had an indifferent start to the season, and they find the saves languishing in fourth spot in the Pacific Division, way behind the leading Lakers.

As they do against most teams, the Lakers have dominated this fixture of recent years, winning eight of the last nine games against the Warriors. They have also won the previous three in a row at the Staples Center, so the Warriors will have their work cut out to end the draught.

Although the Lakers seem to have a hold over the Warriors right now, they have only averaged just one point more than them per game in the last ten match-ups. The Warriors have a higher average first-half score than the Lakers so look for them to start fast.

Let’s take a look at the betting, preview each team, and I will then offer up my Warriors vs. Lakers betting pick.

Warriors vs. Lakers Odds

Warriors (+9.5) -110
Lakers (-9.5) -110
Warriors To Win +360
Lakers To Win -375
Over 224.5 Points -110
Under 224.5 Points -110

I expected the spread to be big, but not perhaps this big. The points total looks about right and probably doesn’t offer up much value.

Warriors Preview

The Warriors failed to build on back-to-back wins for the third time this season and have now lost back-to-back games for the second time. They lost by nine to the Pacers and ten to the Nuggets, which averages nine and a half points, which is the spread here.

On the road, they have a negative record of two wins, and three defeats from their five games played so far. They again posted back to back wins recently but failed to build on those wins losing to Denver.

Here are the latest betting trends for Golden State:

Bet Type Trend
Total Their last five games have all gone under the betting total.
ATS They have only won one of their last five games on the road.
Total Against teams from the Western Conference, nine of the last 12 games have gone under the points total.
SU They have a poor record against teams from their own Pacific Division, losing 12 of the last 16 games.

The Warriors are averaging 111 points per game this season, which is currently the average league score. This is despite them not shooting the ball well or rebounding great either.  They are currently scoring at just 43%  and averaging only eight offensive rebounders per game, which are the fourth lowest in the league.

However, I see this as a positive as they are playing poorly and still have an average offense. They have clear evidence of the areas that they need to improve upon, and yet they are still averaging more points per game than half of the league.

However, their offense has been terrible on the road and needs to improve rapidly if they are to start climbing up the standings.

Perhaps more worryingly is their defense, which has been awful this season both home and away. The only area of their defense that is currently doing well is their blocking, where they are averaging six blocks per game, the fifth-highest in the league. However, even that comes at a price as their sometimes over-aggressive approach means that they concede many personal fouls against them.

Another thing that is clear for the Warriors is that Stephen Curry needs help out there! Despite his superb form this season, the Warriors are still losing games, so the question is, what happens if he gets injured or losses form? Where will the Warriors be then?

The Warriors have three players out long term, but there are no new fitness concerns to worry about.

Lakers Preview

The Lakers are going from strength to strength this season, and after a narrow two point win over the Bulls recently, they followed that up with four more victories by margins of 18, 17, 29, and 17. Suddenly that nine and a half point lead here doesn’t look so big.

Oddly their three defeats this season have all come in LA, as they currently have a 4-3 record at the Staples Center. However, they have won back to back games at home for the second time this season by beating the Bulls and the Pelicans last time out. They trailed by eight points after the first quarter against the Pelicans, which could be the one area that the Warriors may be able to exploit—especially seeing as they have started the head to head games against the Lakers better recently.

Here are the latest betting trends for Los Angeles:

Bet Type Trend
ATS The Lakers have won four of their last five games.
Total Only three of their last 12 games have gone over the points total.
Total Four of their last five games against the Warriors have gone under the betting total.
Total Games against their Western Conference counterparts have been low scoring, with nine of the last 11 going under the total.
ATS They, too, have suffered weekend hangovers just like the Warriors as they have only won six of their last 18 games on a Monday.

The Lakers have the second-best defense in the league, conceding just 104 points per game on average. However, at home, they are conceding, on average, five points more per game, which is the key factor why they aren’t doing as well in LA.

They are averaging 38 defensive rebounds per game, which is the second-highest in the league. This is helping them at both ends of the court as they are quickly turning defense into attack, allowing them to break away on their opponents often. They are also blocking well, just like their opponents, the Warriors.

Their offense has been stable home and on the road, as you would expect from the 17 times NBA winners. They are scoring 48% of their shots taken this season, which is only better by the Bucks and the Nets. They are also shooting well from distance, which is why they have recently posted some significant margin wins.

They seem to have everything right now, and the Warriors will undoubtedly need to raise their game to compete with them.

Surprising to most, the Lakers have no players in the top five rankings in any field this season. But perhaps this is because nearly everyone in their team is a star, and they all contribute throughout the squad.

James and Davis have both struggles to shake off injuries as of late, but they are expected to start tonight. However, Dudley and Antetokounmpo are confirmed as out.

Warriors vs. Lakers Betting Pick

All of the stats point towards a Lakers landslide win, so why then have I selected the Warriors to win with the handicap I hear you cry? I believe they will look to start this game fast as they have done historically in this fixture, which will hopefully give them something to hang on to and make them competitive. The Lakers have lost the first quarter in their last three home games in a row also.

Pick
  • Warriors (+9.5)
    -110

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