Lakers vs. Nets NBA Preview and Best Bet

James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets. Scott Taetsch/Getty Images/AFP

The L.A. Lakers continue to struggle, but do the Brooklyn Nets have enough frontcourt depth to beat the NBA odds this Tuesday?

Los Angeles Lakers vs Brooklyn Nets

Tuesday, January 25, 2022 – 07:30 PM EST at Barclays Center

The Los Angeles Lakers barely made the playoffs last year – and here they are again, clinging to eighth place in the Western Conference standings as we go to press. It’s been the same old story: Injuries to both LeBron James and Anthony Davis have kept the Lakers from being all they can be. But relief is on the way. Davis (left knee) is considered probable for Tuesday’s road game with the Brooklyn Nets.

All the more reason to put Brooklyn in your NBA picks. Davis was already playing well below his usual level before going on the injured list in mid-December. He’ll need a game or two to get his sea legs back; that could be just enough to get the Nets to the pay window, with FanDuel opening them as 3.5-point home dogs for Tuesday’s contest.

Center of Attraction

The Nets (29-17 SU, 19-27 ATS) are missing their own superstars for this matchup. This is a home game, so Kyrie Irving (anti-vax) won’t be in uniform; Kevin Durant is out for the next month or so with a sprained left knee. This obviously won’t make it any easier for Brooklyn to beat the Lakers, but these NBA odds appear to have shifted way too far in favor of Los Angeles (23-24 SU, 19-28 ATS).

Aside from the Davis “rust” angle, this is an L.A. team that has struggled to beat the odds with James in uniform – despite James really turning up the juice since Davis got hurt. The Lakers are 2-5 SU and ATS in their last seven games, including some very disappointing losses against the Sacramento Kings (+4 at home) and the Indiana Pacers (+3.5 away). Plus, when Davis returns, he’ll presumably play center, where James has been something of a revelation filling in for his fallen teammate.

Claxton Family Values

Although this NBA pick has been gift-wrapped for us, a smaller bet size on Brooklyn might be in order. They have some other injuries of note, particularly Nicolas Claxton, who’s listed as questionable for Tuesday with a tender left hamstring. Claxton has missed the last seven games, during which the Nets have gone a pedestrian 4-3 SU and ATS.

There aren’t a lot of frontcourt options for Brooklyn aside from Claxton. Paul Millsap has basically left the team after not getting much play since signing with the Nets in September; that leaves rookie Day’Ron Sharpe and veteran LaMarcus Aldridge as their last two viable bigs. Sharpe’s performance since taking over for Claxton at center has been… not good. Fortunately for Brooklyn, the Lakers aren’t in the best position to take advantage. Bet accordingly.

NBA Pick: Nets +3.5 (–110) at FanDuel