Despite being barely two years removed from winning a title, the Lakers have spent much of those 700-plus days since as underdogs in many senses. It’s a position they firmly put themselves in with an increasing number of questionable decisions.
As they open the season on Tuesday, they once again find themselves in position as the underdogs. Matched up against the defending champions on the night the Warriors will receive their rings, it’ll be a daunting task, to say the least, which explains them being the betting underdogs coming into the contest.
The Lakers come into Opening Night as 6.5-point underdogs and are +205 to win the game outright, according to DraftKings. However, as Lakers fans have seen themselves countless times through the years, ring nights bring with them a certain burst of emotions that are often quite hard to control.
Two years ago, the Lakers themselves received their rings and promptly lost to the Clippers. If nothing else, these games are always close, which should provide plenty of reason to believe the Lakers could cover this spread.
But given the Lakers' spotty preseason performance, it doesn’t feel like a great bet to either take the money line or the spread, even if the Warriors obviously had their own...issues this preseason. Instead, there are some intriguing player props that could be more intriguing.
Even as the Lakers had an inconsistent preseason, Anthony Davis looked something back to his best. His strongest performance of the preseason came against these very Warriors in which he had 28 points in 21 minutes during the preseason.
That game did come against a Warriors side without Draymond Green, and Green has had success in the past against AD, but Davis’ over/under of 23.5 points tonight seems mighty intriguing. The new-look Lakers offense seems particularly advantageous for AD and he could be in line for a big season. LeBron James, who also had a strong preseason in limited minutes, has an over/under of 26.5 points, a total that feels a little more ambitious.
Until the Lakers have a larger sample size of just how things look under Darvin Ham, it’s hard to have a good grasp on how competitive they’re going to be this season. It may be best, then, to defer to some player props in the opening days and weeks until that is the case.