- The Los Angeles Lakers sit at the top of the Western Conference with a firm grip on the top seed in the West
- The reigning champion Toronto Raptors were red-hot before the All-Star break and have a firm grasp on the #2 seed in the East
- Both teams have seen their win totals rise since preseason – should you bet the over or under?
The Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors have exceeded expectations this season, resulting in an increase in their NBA Win Totals.
LAL were given a total of 51 when the season tipped off a few months ago, but have built a solid lead at the top of the Western Conference and currently sit at 41-12. Their total has increased to 61.5, as shown in the table below.
In the east Toronto are flying at the moment, riding a 15-game winning streak prior to their loss to the Brooklyn Nets just before the All-Star break.
Despite dealing with injuries all season long, and losing Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to the two Los Angeles teams, the Raps own the third-best record in the NBA. Their win total was at 47 in preseason – it has climbed as high as 56.5 as of February 18th.
Los Angeles Lakers Updated 2019-20 Win Total Odds
|Team||Win Total||Over Odds||Under Odds|
|Los Angeles Lakers||61.5||-120||+100|
All odds taken Feb. 18
What Needs to Be Done?
The Lakers have 29 games left, including the yet-to-be-rescheduled matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers. They have one road trip over three games, which comes in late March and features a run of very winnable games. The Raptors are the only team on that trip that are in playoff contention, let alone over .500.
According to Tankathon, the Lakers have the ninth-easiest schedule in the NBA. Of their games against upper echelon playoff teams, only one comes on the road (at Utah on March 16th).
To hit the ‘over’ the Lakers need to win 21 of their remaining 29 games. A 21-8 run doesn’t seem unfathomable for a team that has only lost 12 of their first 53, but the end of season, and their seemingly comfortable position at the top of the West, present other factors that bettors must be aware of.
Foot Off the Gas
Cruising towards home court advantage through the Western Conference playoffs, the Lakers’ motivation to keep racking up the wins may well wane as we head into Spring. James has been adamant he will play as much as he can, but that doesn’t guarantee the same level of application (particularly on the defensive end) that we have seen through the majority of this campaign.
Anthony Davis has played 46 of their 53 games thus far. He’s likely going to miss more down the stretch. The Lakers don’t need to take risks with their stars, and that could cost them some wins.
With two games to come against the Clips, as well as matchups with the Celtics, Nuggets, Rockets, Bucks and Sixers, the Lakers have plenty of big nights coming up. It’s not hard to find nine losses on their schedule.
A lot, obviously, depends on James’ health and application. He has rested down the stretch in years past, and there will no doubt be some ‘load management’ over the coming weeks. That might just make the ‘under’ the best bet.
Pick: Under 61.5 (+100)
Toronto Raptors Updated 2019-20 Win Total Odds
|Team||Win Total||Over Odds||Under Odds|
The Raptors were a hard team to predict at the start of this season. A retool was possible with veterans on expiring contracts, but their record without Leonard last season – and the sheer talent left on the roster – gave reason for the Toronto faithful to be optimistic.
Even the most diehard Raps fans would have found it hard to believe they would watch their team post the longest winning streak in franchise history.
Toronto have 27 games to play, three of which come against the Milwaukee Bucks. Tankathon has them with the 11th-hardest schedule in the NBA, and they face a particularly rough six-day stretch in late-March when they’re at Philadelphia before hosting the Celtics, Nuggets and Lakers.
A winnable game in Madison Square Garden follows before a four-game run against the Grizzlies and Bucks.
OG Anunoby and Terence Davis are the only Raptors to play over 50 games. None of their first-choice starters have played more than 45, and Norm Powell is out indefinitely with a fractured finger, halting the best season of his career. Marc Gasol is day-to-day with a hamstring injury.
Having their best players healthy is obviously crucial if they are to hit the ‘over’, but the Raptors have excelled even when depleted this season. They have arguably the deepest roster in the league, getting good minutes from Chris Boucher, Davis and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. The Raptors’ bench will be crucial if they are to reach the 57-win mark.
Toronto have done a great job at winning games they should, owning a 31-3 record against teams under .500. They are 9-12 against teams over .500, which makes the tough schedule more of a concern.
Defying expectations has been the norm for Nick Nurse’s team. Getting to 57 wins might be a step too far, but they could still take the two-seed in the Eastern Conference, crucially avoiding the Bucks until the Conference Finals.
Pick: Under 56.5 (+100)
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