LA Lakers Or LA Clippers? Which Is A Smarter NBA Title Bet?
The successful debut of the Kawhi Leonard-Paul George Duo gives Los Angeles Clippers fans great reason for optimism after LA's 107-104 OT over Boston Wednesday night. And it raises legit discussion of a Lakers-Clippers matchup in the Western Conference Finals.
The Clippers remain the No. 4 seed in the West, trailing the Lakers by three games in the loss column.
Of the two teams that call Staples Center home, which one has the best chance at winning the NBA title come June?
“I’d still go with the Clippers,” said NBA expert Nate Duncan during the bookies.com-sponsored NBACast Wednesday night.
“I would, too,” added NBACast co-host Danny Leroux.
The price is more costly for bettors who want to wager on the NBA Pacific Division winner. The Clippers are -164, while the Lakers are +125.
“The injury stiff they’ve had, everything we know so far, those have been resolved. They have a higher capacity to get better,” Leroux said of the Clippers. “We still haven’t seen them at full strength. And to me, I like the theory of the Clippers more than the theory of the Lakers. The Lakers have been better than I anticipated. Their defense has been fantastic. It is a closer case than it was before. But I am still going with my original interpretation.”
The Clippers trailed Boston by 10 points with 6:13 to play in the fourth quarter Wednesday.
That may have been the unofficial start of the Clippers' 2019-20 NBA Title Run. It was certainly the moment Boston and the rest of the NBA were made aware that the Leonard-George Era had arrived in LaLa Land. The Clippers ran off 10 straight points and outscored Boston 21-11 to force overtime.
Leonard punctuated the final minutes of regulation with a soul-crushing dunk above and through a hapless Daniel Theis.
Leonard conserved the victory by blocking a potential game-tying shot by Kemba Walker shot at the buzzer in overtime. George and Leonard combined for 42 points and 78 total minutes played, including the OT.
Boston was minus Gordon Hayward, but Los Angeles failed to cover the 7-point line at 888sport. Not surprisingly — given the level of defensive acumen and hustle on both squads — under bettors were delivered an easy win on a 218.5 total, even with the extra five minutes of play.
The Clippers’ hard-fought, straight-up victory (-295) also raised the level of discussion of a Boston-LA rematch in the NBA Finals. Which LA team would be representing the Western Conference remains the bettor's quandary.
The total on regular-season wins for the Clippers remains a lofty 54.5 at FoxBet. The Lakers' total sits at 51.5 for bettors at the same site.
For those seeking a bit more certainty, DraftKings offers -5000 on the Clippers to make the postseason, while the daring pessimists can get +1600 on a collapse and postseason miss at bet365.
About the Author
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose 30-year career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network/Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, the Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post. He has also written for Bleacher Report, the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe's boston.com site. Bill has a strong track record of building, developing and retaining digital audiences. Bill attended Marquette University.