Winning NBA Picks: L.A. Lakers at Philadelphia 76ers

Los Angeles Lakers AT Philadelphia 76ers
December 17th, 2010 at 7:05 PM EST
Opening Line:  LA -5
Current Line:  LA -6.5
Opening Total: 189.5
Current Total:  197
Opening Moneyline:  L.A. -215 / Philadelphia +185
Current Moneyline: L.A. -230 / Philadelphia +190

Kobe only averaged 21.5 points per game against Iguodala and the Sixers last year, but the Lakers still won both games by an average of 8.5

Philadelphia has recently got their act together in a big way, winning their past three games and 7 of their past 10 to pull their win percentage up to .400 and within 1/2 a game of the #8 seeded Milwaukee Bucks for the last playoff spot in the East.  It’s a little early to be counting seeds, but Philadelphia has to take as many positives as they can from their situation and the fact that they are in the playoff hunt after a miserable start to the season is a big positive.  Despite the under .500 record, Philadelphia’s +1.0 point differential does a better job of telling the story.  They have been in the game in most of their losses and can pride themselves on that fact.  Philadelphia has held their last three opponents to under 40% from the field.  Tonight should prove to be a litmus test of how good they actually are.

The Lakers ride a three game winning streak too, but have had their problems of late, including the four game skid they had to end November and begin December.  Perhaps the addition of injured Andrew Bynum will inject some life into the Laker team, as he is their best interior defender and should help solidify their defense.  The Lakers recent mediocre play has dropped them behind both #1 San Antonio and #2 Dallas in the Western Conference standings.  But a 19-7 record is hardly a failure and they promise to continue to challenge for the #1 seed as the season progresses.

“We played with more energy, and a more focused game, and with more of a sense of urgency,” said Kobe Bryant about avenging an earlier loss to the Pacers.

The Lakers will need that energy tonight against the Sixers.

Some trends for winning NBA picks that bettors need to know:  The Lakers are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games and the total has gone UNDER in the Lakers’ past four games.  They are 2-8 ATS on the road in their last 8 games, as well.  The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the last 5 road games for the Lakers, and they have won only 3 of their last 9 games against Philly in Philadelphia.

The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Philadelphia’s past 15 games, but it has gone OVER in 4 of their last 6.  They have won 7 of their past 8 home games and they are 2-4 ATS vs the Lakers in their past six against them.

As far as matchups go, we have a very good one in Andre Iguodala vs Kobe Bryant.  Iguodala is one of the best defenders on a Philadelphia team that is playing superb defense and he has the ability to frustrate the best perimeter players in the league.  Last game against Philadelphia on February 26th, 2010, Iguodala held Kobe to 19 points, but the Lakers still won the game by 9.  The game prior to that against Philly, Kobe had 24, and the Lakers won by 8.  So it is clear that Iguodala has the ability to hold Kobe Bryant well below his season averages.  Another key matchup to keep an eye on is Jrue Holiday vs the Laker tandem of Derek Fisher and Steve Blake.  Holiday has been on a tear of late and is averaging 13 points per game and 6 assists per game, in addition to playing excellent defense and filling passing lanes.  If he can get some steals and open fast breaks, Philadelphia could put up enough points to beat the Lakers.  Those will be the main keys to tonight’s game, all locked up in the backcourt matchups.  Undoubtedly Pau Gasol will challenge Brand and Bynum will give Spencer Hawes fits, but the key to the Lakers is always Kobe and for the Lakers they will have to contain Holiday if they are to win.

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