The Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers meet on Friday night, when LeBron James returns to action after a false-positive test forced him into the NBA’s health and safety protocol for a win over the Sacramento Kings earlier this week.
Will the Lakers earn their third win in a row against a Clippers team that is hoping to avoid a four-game losing streak?
Check out our NBA picks and predictions for Clippers vs Lakers on December 3.
Clippers vs Lakers odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
The Clippers were 2-point favorites at open, but the Lakers are now favored by either 1.5 or 2 with LeBron back in the lineup. The total, which opened at 217 in this game, is up to 218.5 or 219 nearly everywhere.
Clippers vs Lakers predictions
Predictions made on 12/3/2021 at 11:55 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Clippers vs Lakers game info
• Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
• Date: Friday, December 3, 2021
• Tip-off: 10:00 p.m. ET
• TV: ESPN
Clippers vs Lakers betting preview
Clippers: Jason Preston G (Out), Amir Coffey G (Questionable), Nicolas Batum F (Out), Kawhi Leonard F (Out)
Lakers: Anthony Davis F (Questionable), Trevor Ariza F (Out), Kendrick Nunn G (Out)
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Clippers are 0-5 against the spread in their last five games. Find more NBA betting trends for Clippers vs. Lakers.
Clippers vs Lakers picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
The Clippers are really struggling right now, as they’ve lost three straight games and seven of their last 10. They’ve also failed to cover in eight of their last 10, and they come into this one on a streak of five against-the-spread losses in a row. That’s not exactly a great sign heading into a meeting with a Lakers team that has won four of its last six and gets LeBron back from what he feels was an undeserved absence against Sacramento. Look for him to be extremely motivated to pick up a victory here.
Frank Vogel also appears to be making a long-overdue change at the center position. It recently came to light that Dwight Howard will be the team’s starting center tonight, replacing DeAndre Jordan in that spot. Jordan will be removed from the Lakers’ rotation and Vogel stated that he will only be playing one true center moving forward. That’s rather significant for a Lakers team that plays its best basketball with Anthony Davis as a small-ball center, and these changes clear up some room for Davis to play more minutes at the five. That’s big for a matchup like tonight’s, when Davis can really dominate his matchup with Ivica Zubac.
It’s also huge that the Lakers are getting LeBron back tonight, of all nights. The Clippers are extremely reliant on Paul George as Kawhi Leonard rehabs his knee injury. However, George is normally the best wing on the floor in any game he plays, and that just won’t be the case in this one. Even if LeBron is a bit rusty in this game, he should be able to hold his own against George. Meanwhile, the Clippers don’t have anybody as talented as Russell Westbrook in the backcourt. That should stand out in this game, and it’s one of the main reasons the Lakers should comfortably win this one.
Prediction: Lakers -1.5 (-105)
The Clippers are fourth in the league in defensive rating this season, which is part of the reason people might want to jump on the Under in this game. However, they are just 11th in the league in defensive rating over the last 10 games, and they’re slipping even further, down at 27th in the league over their last three. The point there is that the Clippers are clearly slipping on the defensive end, which is the identity of this basketball team.
With the Clippers struggling to frequently get stops, the Lakers should get a decent offensive performance out of their group, which is just 23rd in the league in offensive rating. The Over is also 13-8-1 when the Lakers are coming off blowout wins of 20 or more points over the last three seasons. They’re a different team when they start stringing together a couple of wins and building confidence. And it just wouldn’t be shocking if they put up a big number in this game.
Prediction: Over 218.5 (-110)
Ty Lue has proven to be a strong head coach for the Clippers, but his team is a bit deficient in the talent department right now. This group really misses Leonard in a big way, which is understandable considering that he’s one of the best players on the planet. Until he comes back, the Clippers are going to be an up-and-down squad, and it wouldn’t be too surprising if there was more bad than good. That’s just the reality of them playing in a loaded Western Conference.
The Lakers also come into this game with Westbrook playing the best ball of his short Lakers career. That could ultimately change with LeBron back on the court, but it’s still hard to go against the better roster in this matchup. Also, with this line being 1.5, the Lakers really just need to win this game for you to cover. It’s highly unlikely it ends up being a one-point game.
Pick: Lakers -1.5 (-105)
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