The NBA was off on Thanksgiving Day, giving all those associated with the league a chance to spend time with loved ones. Today is Black Friday and the NBA is back with a massive slate of 13 games. The finale is a contest at Staples Center between the 6-10 Washington Wizards and 16-2 Los Angeles Lakers (10.30pm ET Friday).
Washington has been one of the NBA’s best offensive teams and also one of the worst defensive teams. The Lakers are much more balanced and have been the league’s most consistent team so far.
How will these teams fare against each other today? Read this preview from USAbetting before we give our Washington Wizards vs Los Angeles Lakers predictions from the pick of the betting lines from the elite U.S. bookmakers in our conclusion.
Will the Wizards’ Former Lakers Bigs Play With a Vengeance?
There is no question that the Lakers have a talent advantage in this matchup. LeBron James and Anthony Davis for Los Angeles are clearly the two best players in this matchup and the Lakers also have a host of strong role players. This game is also being played on their home court.
The Wizards need a lot of things to go right if they are to win this game. One of those potential things that could go well is highly motivated performances from two former Lakers now on the Wizards: Thomas Bryant and Mo Wagner.
LA gave up on both players after one season of very little playing time, not truly giving either a chance at proving themselves. Now, both guys have blossomed into strong rotation players. Bryant is averaging close to 15 points, nine rebounds and three assists per game, and Wagner is averaging around 12 points and five rebounds per game while leading all qualified players in true-shooting percentage.
Both sweet-shooting big men need to hit their outside jumpers to pull out the Lakers’ defense. They also need to use any feelings of vengeance to translate to strong rebounding and defensive play against a long, athletic Lakers frontcourt.
Will the Lakers Fall into the Trap of Frequent Anthony Davis Isolations?
As great as Anthony Davis is for the Lakers, Los Angeles is best on offense when the team isn’t running everything through its superstar big man. The Lakers are 3-2 with a point differential of minus-0.2 per game when Davis takes at least 20 field-goal attempts. In games where Davis takes fewer than 20 shots, the Lakers are 13-0 with a point differential of plus-12.
Davis is certainly capable of a massive offensive game against Washington. The Wizards don’t really have anyone who can consistently guard him. If Los Angeles is truly going to thrive on offense, the squad needs to prioritize a perimeter-centric ball movement offense that takes advantage of Washington’s mismatches and lack of established chemistry across the lineup.
A more balanced attack would do a better job of keeping everyone on the Lakers’ roster in rhythm and contributing, rather than just tossing the ball into the post for Davis to operate on his defender one-on-one.
Does Bradley Beal Have a Scoring Explosion in Him?
The Wizards are likely going to have trouble guarding the Lakers. Washington is the NBA’s worst defense by points allowed per 100 possessions. The Lakers have the league’s No. 7 offense that has been even better during their nine-game winning streak.
When the Lakers are defending in the half court, the Wizards may also have trouble generating offense as a team against a stiff Los Angeles defense.
If Washington is going to keep this game close or win, Beal is going to have to go off and be the top offensive player in the game and create his own shots. The 26-year-old has certainly done so plenty of times this year, putting up performances of 46, 44, 44, 35, 34, 33, 30, 30 and 30 points all in his last 12 games. An effort of 30 to 40 points will be needed from him.
Our Preview’s Washington Wizards vs LA Lakers Betting Picks & Predictions Verdict
The Lakers are a much better team and will very likely win this game to extend their winning streak. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Washington and its four former Lakers players (Mo Wagner, Thomas Bryant, Isaiah Thomas and Isaac Bonga) play more motivated basketball than its opponent in this contest.
I see this game being surprisingly competitive for much of the game due to the motivation of the Wizards’ players, leading to the Wizards playing relatively solid defense. Given those comments, these Washington Wizards vs LA Lakers predictions should be no surprise:
- The Lakers are favored by a large margin at 11 or 11.5 points. I think going with the Wizards +11.5pts @ -113 with BetOnline is a good play. It is +11pts @ -110 with Bovada, Bookmaker or Intertops.
- In the regular season, motivation to win is almost as important as teams’ strengths and weaknesses. I like Washington’s chances at competing hard on defense and in the rebounding battle. Take the under 235 total points to be scored @ -105 with Bovada.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.