Lakers host Hornets on NBA betting slate

By: Adam Markowitz | Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Los Angeles Lakers have had their trials and tribulations of late trying to beat the NBA odds against some iffy teams, especially at home at the Staples Center. Friday night they welcome the New Orleans Hornets to town and hope that they don't fall victim to the same type of problem.

The Hornets aren't exactly chopped liver, but they do know that they have fallen quite a bit from their sparkling start to the season. They're still six games over .500 coming into play in this one, and though they are firmly in the playoffs right now, they are likely to be falling closer and closer towards the outside of the race as the year wears on.

As always, when you're talking about New Orleans basketball you have to talk about David West and Chris Paul. These two are real monsters and could be All-Stars on any roster in the league, not just the one that they are on that doesn't feature much talent around them. West is averaging 18.5 points and 6.9 boards per game, while Paul is at 16.7 PPG and 9.8 APG.

Paul has been particularly sharp of late, logging eight double-doubles since December 15. He has averaged 18.3 PPG and 9.8 APG in that stretch, but he has had a few dud games in there as well. CP3 has 15 straight games with at least 11 points.

As a team, generating offense is still a problem for New Orleans, something you don't expect to see from a team with such a fantastic point guard. The Hornets are averaging just 93.8 PPG this year. On the flip side though, New Orleans does rank No. 3 in the league defensively allowing 92.1 per game, and this is one facet of the game that really has never fallen apart in spite of the fact that the team has gone through some rough patches since the start of the year.

The Lakers were booed off of their home court just four nights ago against the Memphis Grizzlies, which marked their fifth home loss of the year. They have their next three here at Staples Center, and they should be comfortable favorites in all three NBA betting battles.

The problem that LA has this year that it hasn't had in years past is that it really isn't getting all that much from its role players. Lamar Odom has done a great job, averaging 15.6 PPG and 9.5 RPG, but he is the only man not named Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol that is averaging double digits in scoring per game. The game looks like it has passed Derek Fisher by, and there really isn't a point guard to rely on either.

Sure, Kobe and Pau are combining for 43.5 PPG, 15.6 RPG and 8.4 APG, and there will be games that one or both of these two are going to be able to carry the load.  But in order to win a championship again, there are going to have to be a number of others step up at points over the course of the season, and we just haven't seen it yet.

The underdog is 13-3 ATS in the last 16 meetings of these Western Conference foes, but the Lakers snapped that skid just before New Year's with a 103-88 win at New Orleans Arena as short favorites. We fully expect to see the hosts favored by fairly close to double digits, and the last three times the Hornets were dogs in this series by that much, they are 3-0 ATS even though they are only 1-2 SU.

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