Posted: 1/31/2012 7:30:49 PM
Charlotte Bobcats @ Los Angeles Lakers
As poor as the Bobcats have been in the early stages of the season, it surprises me to see the Lakers favoured by such a big margin heading into tonight's game.
The Bobcats have historically played the Lakers very tough over the last few years. In fact, Charlotte has won 8 of the last 13 in the series outright, covering the spread on 12 occasions during this period.
Another positive aspect for the Bobcats heading into tonight's game is the fact that they are expecting the return of two key players to their squad rotation. Guard Gerald Henderson and D.J. White are expected back for the Bobcats, with Henderson's return being the most important addition as he leads the team in scoring with 15 points per game.
Charlotte have played the role of the big underdog in two consecutive games so far this season, with Orlando and Chicago both listed as 12.5 home favourites. The Bobcats were successful against the spread on both of these occassions, losing by 13 points combined.
The Lakers have been fade material when favoured by double digits at home historically recording 14 wins and 37 losses against the spread when favoured by 11 points or more at the Staples Centre. The current Lakers team just doesn't have the same level of consistency, quality or depth in comparison to the team that had been so dominant in previous years.
In the 21 games they've played so far, the Lakers have won just 3 by a margin of 13 points or more, with two of those victories coming in the opening 4 games of the season.
It is also worth noting that the Lakers have failed to beat the Bobcats by more than 11 points in any of their previous 14 encounters dating back to 2005. Additionally, the Bobcats boast an impressive spread record of 8 wins and 2 losses in their last 10 games as underdogs of 11 points or more. Charlotte have also covered the spread in each of their previous 6 road meetings with the Lakers.
I fully expect Charlotte to play tough, competitive basketball throughout tonight's game, most likely keeping the Lakers margin of victory to single digits.
Pick: Charlotte Bobcats +13 -110
Risking 1.65 Units to win 1.5 Units.