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LeBron’s Odds of Breaking Scoring Record Tonight Sit at +130; James’ Over/Under Set at 31.5

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in NBA Basketball

Updated Mar 7, 2023 · 1:57 PM PST

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James drives to the basket against New Orleans
Feb 4, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) is fouled by New Orleans Pelicans forward Herbert Jones (5) as he goes to the basket during the second half at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
  • LeBron James needs just 36 points to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record and become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer
  • LeBron’s Lakers host the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight in Los Angeles and his over/under point total is 31.5
  • See the odds that LeBron breaks Kareem’s record tonight along with betting analysis

It’s been a foregone conclusion for months, arguably years, that LeBron James would eventually break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA scoring record of 38,387 points. As of February 7, 2023, the King sits just 35 points behind Kareem, and LeBron’s Lakers are in action against the defensively-suspect OKC Thunder this evening.

DraftKings has been offering odds on when LeBron would break the record for a few weeks now. Last Tuesday, tonight’s game against the Thunder was listed as the +130 second-favorite. As of this morning, tonight’s game against the Thunder remains the +130 second-favorite. (Shout out to the oddsmakers.)

Odds When LeBron James Break’s Kareem’s NBA Scoring Record

Opponent Date Odds
Oklahoma City Thunder 2/7/23 +130
Milwaukee Bucks 2/9/23 -200
Golden State Warriors 2/11/23 +850
Portland Trail Blazers 2/13/23 +3500
New Orleans Pelicans 2/15/23 +9000
Golden State Warriors 2/23/23 +15000
Dallas Mavericks 2/26/23 +15000
Memphis Grizzlies or later 2/28/23 +4500

Odds as of 3:15 pm ET, Feb. 7, at DraftKings. Claim the DraftKings Sportsbook promo to bet on LeBron breaking the record tonight.

Thursday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks is the heavy -200 favorite, while every other option on the board is +850 or longer. Realistically, any option beyond Saturday’s game with the Warriors would require James missing at least one game.

LeBron’s over/under point total for tonight has been set at 31.5 with the over slightly favored (-118o/-104u).

 

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Lakers Play High-Scoring Games

If you haven’t been following the NBA this season and are just tuning in to see LeBron break the record, know that the Lakers are an ugly 25-29 on the season with a -1.3 average point differential per game.

LA has been better of late. The team started a dismal 2-10 and has actually played the rest of their schedule four games over .500. They have been significantly better at home (13-12) than on the road (12-17), but LeBron’s splits are reversed: he’s averaging 31.0 PPG in road games and just 28.8 PPG at home.

They are prone to high-scoring games; they surrender the fourth-most points per game and sit 20th in Defensive Rating. Their offense is sixth in scoring average but just 18th in Offensive Rating.

Tonight’s opponent, OKC, is an up-tempo team that sits 20th in scoring defense (116.4 PPG) but an above-average 12th in Defensive Rating.

LeBron’s Scoring Averages Say the OKC Thunder Game Is a Longshot

At the ripe old age of 38, LeBron is averaging a phenomenal 30.0 points per game. While his Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is just 24.8, his second-lowest of the last 15 years and outside of the NBA’s top ten, he still sits sixth in the Association in Usage Percentage (33.2%).

In 43 games this season, he has only exceeded 35 points on ten occasions (23.2% of the time). The +130 odds for him to break the record tonight carry an implied probability of 43.48%. On the face of it, betting on the Thunder game is terrible value.

What the averages don’t account for is context. The scoring record has been looming large for James – indeed the entire Lakers team – for weeks now. There is going to be intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to have it over with.

It’s also likely that LeBron would prefer to break the record at home. There is still one more game on LA’s current homestand (vs Milwaukee on Thursday). So there won’t necessarily be a sense of urgency to do it front of the home crowd tonight.

Overall, this is not a wager I’m eager to make. I don’t want to lay -200 odds on the Milwaukee game (66.7% implied probability). Nor do I want to wager on James hitting 36 – which he’s only done ten times this season – at +130 for tonight’s game.

If I had a free bet to use on the game, I would put it on LeBron breaking the record this evening. But I’m not spending my own money on it.

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