Lakers vs. Magic: The best player prop bets for Jan. 21
Something is rotten in the state of California. Three and a half months after being hailed as championship favorites, the Los Angeles Lakers are now one game below .500 and in eighth place in the Western Conference. Injuries and COVID-related absences are partially to blame, but LA has just been plain bad. The Lakers rank 20th in defensive rating and 24th in offensive rating, and have been among the most turnover-prone teams in the NBA.
If ever there were a time to start building some momentum it would be tonight against the equally hapless Orlando Magic. Jamahl Mosley’s sorry squad is dead last in the Eastern Conference and has lost nine of its last 10 games, including a 123-110 defeat to the Sixers on Wednesday in which Joel Embiid erupted for 50 points in 27 minutes. The Magic sport the league’s second worst point differential (-9.1) and have won just once in the month of January.
Sat, January 22 2022, 12:00 AM
We’ve examined tonight’s matchup between the Lakers and Magic closely, and have the three best prop bets below.
LeBron James to record a double-double
No player has ever been better in his age 37 season than LeBron James, who is averaging 28.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 6.4 assists while shooting nearly 37% from 3. And yet, as dominant as he’s been in Year 19, King James is no longer a walking double-double. The four-time MVP has recorded just 12 double-doubles in 2021-22, good for 30th in the league. That’s a huge drop-off for the ridiculously well-rounded star, who ranks 12th all-time in the category, and is first among all active players.
The real culprit in James’ declining double-doubles in Russell Westbrook, who is cutting down on LeBron’s passing opportunities and forcing him out to the perimeter due to his own shortcomings as a shooter. The result is that James is taking a career-high 7.9 3s per game and is averaging his fewest rebounds since 2015-16.
James has only had one double-double in his last eight games and is unlikely to surpass double digits in assists or rebounds tonight so long as Westbrook continues to log significant court time.
Cole Anthony Over/Under 17.5 points
Few players have been a bigger revelation this season than Cole Anthony, who is averaging 18.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in his sophomore season with Orlando. Not only is he filling up the scoresheet on a nightly basis, but he’s doing so in crunch time with the game on the line. Anthony is among the league leaders in clutch scoring in 2021-22, and is shooting 51% from the field in end-of-game scenarios.
It’s unclear whether tonight’s game will go down to the final basket, but even if it doesn’t Anthony should still have little problem scoring against the Lakers’ porous defense. Los Angeles has the league’s 10th worst defensive rating and gives up the second-most points to lead guards in the league (24.9 per game).
Expect another big night for Anthony, who has gone Over 17.5 points in 53% of his games this season.
Mo Bamba Over/Under 7.5 rebounds
One of the problems with playing James extensively at the five, as the Lakers have been doing lately, is that it allows opposing teams to feast on the glass. LA gives up 47.5 rebounds per game to opponents (the fourth worst mark in the league), and has been badly out-rebounded ever since Anthony Davis went to the sidelines on Dec. 17 with an MCL sprain.
Tonight’s game is a golden opportunity for Mo Bamba, who is averaging a career-high 8.3 rebounds per game. The 23-year-old pivot has snagged eight boards or more in three of his last six games, and that was against teams with bona fide big men. Just imagine what Bamba can do this evening as he takes full advantage of LA’s small ball lineups.