No Doubt. The Lakers Have Dried-up Without LeBron In the Line-up



Glenn examines the impact of LeBron James on the betting line for the Lakers in this preview of their match-up against the Thunder on Thursday night.

No Lebron James creates a very uneasy and mysterious situation for sports bettors

NBA Odds: Still No LeBron for Lakers-Thunder?

Oh, don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

I realize Joni Mitchell was referencing paradise or maybe love in Big Yellow Taxi but could also have been referring to the Los Angeles Lakers recent situation without LeBron James. The Lakers (23-21 SU, 18-25-1 ATS) are finding out the hard way just how badly they need LeBron, who remains on the sidelines longer than expected. They are 3-7 SU and 4-6 ATS since James left the lineup with a strained groin, putting them at a huge disadvantage for Thursday evening’s major road game against the Oklahoma City Thunder (26-16 SU, 23-19 ATS). TNT has the feature game coverage scheduled for a 9:30 PM ET tip-off.

LA Lakers Lebron JamesBet on basketball at Bovada and get a free 50% bonus.

One of those James-less games during the streak was against the Thunder on January 2, and things didn’t turn out too well for the Lakers. They carried a sizable lead into the fourth quarter, but things subsequently fell apart losing 107-100 as +6 underdogs at preferred sportsbook Bovada. This occurred despite perennial All-Star Russell Westbrook shooting an awful 3-for-20 in one of his patented low-efficiency, triple-doubles (14 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists).

There’s a slight chance James could suit up on Thursday, therefore carefully keep watch on the updated line at Bovada. He’s officially listed as day-to-day, with his playing status due for an official update on Wednesday. Rajon Rondo is still a few weeks away after undergoing surgery on his right hand and will be out for the Lakers.

Meanwhile, back-up center/power forward Nerlens Noel is day-to-day for the Thunder with a concussion, leaving a significant void in the Oklahoma City frontcourt. Patrick Patterson is their only remaining major frontcourt player behind starting center Steven Adams. Strategically, the Thunder can create opportunities regardless of which star is on the court. The Lakers will have to zone in defensively if they hope to be able to stop the Thunder.

Oklahoma City Thunder previewSince the inception of their respective franchises, the Thunder have been able to establish themselves as the more capable club. In 36 meetings all-time, the Oklahoma City Thunder lead the series 22-14.

A loss for the Lakers on Thursday night would be relatively worrisome, pulling them out of the Western Conference’s top playoff eight.  A win for the Thunder keeps them in place at third in the West and provides them a one game lead on the Portland Trail Blazers.

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Again, all savvy bettors need to keep their eye on the line over at Bovada for major updates and potential changes.  You wouldn’t need to check the headlines. An eight to ten-point wagering line swing will inform you that #23 would be back and starting for the L.A. Lakers on Thursday night.  

Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.