There's no rest for the weary as the Los Angeles Lakers head to Spectrum Center to face off against the Charlotte Hornets just one day after losing in Philadelphia.
The Lakers are struggling to break .500 and might be without LeBron James in this contest. Those factors have helped make Charlotte the favorite in this matchup, with NBA betting lines opening with the Hornets as 7-point chalk.
Here are our best free Lakers vs. Hornets picks and predictions for Friday, January 28, with tipoff at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Lakers vs Hornets odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
This line hit the board with the Hornets as 7-point home favorites with the Over/Under at 228. As of 10:30 a.m. ET the spread and total haven't budged. When these teams previously played against each other on November 8, the Lakers won 126-123 without LeBron James, covering as 2.5-point home faves.
Lakers vs Hornets predictions
Predictions made on 1/28/2022 at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Lakers vs Hornets game info
• Location: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
• Date: Friday, January 28, 2022
• Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. ET
• TV: ESPN
Lakers vs Hornets betting preview
Lakers: LeBron James SF (Questionable), Kendrick Nunn PG (Out).
Hornets: Kelly Oubre Jr. (Questionable), Gordon Hayward SF (Out), Jalen McDaniels PF (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Lakers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games playing on zero days of rest. Find more NBA betting trends for Lakers vs. Hornets.
Lakers vs Hornets 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 Lakers have gone 3-3 SU and ATS in their last six games and are coming off a 105-87 loss against the 76ers last night. LeBron James sat out that contest with a sore knee but Anthony Davis looked like his All-NBA self, scoring 31 points and pulling down 12 rebounds after a quiet return from a lengthy injury layoff on Tuesday. Davis had another injury scare when he briefly left with a wrist injury but should be good to go tonight while James is day-to-day.
The Hornets are coming off a 32-point victory over the Pacers where they scored 158 points and shot a sizzling 24-45 (53%) from beyond the arc. That snapped a two-game skid for the Hornets, who are 8-3 SU and ATS in their last 11 games and sit seventh in the Eastern Conference with a 27-22 record.
With an up-tempo offense led by second-year guard LaMelo Ball (19.4 points, 7.7 assists, and 7.3 rebounds per game) the Hornets are third in the league in offensive rating. However, they've been poor on the other end of the floor, ranking 26th in defensive rating.
The Lakers have easily been the biggest disappointment in the NBA, entering the season as the Western Conference favorites but sitting 24-25 SU and 20-29 ATS. One player who has received plenty of criticism for the Lakers' underwhelming year has been offseason acquisition Russell Westbrook, who has made them sloppier on offense and more reckless on defense.
However, Westbrook is in many ways LeBron-lite: smaller, and less efficient but also a ball-dominant, high-energy, stat-stuffer. While his fit next to LeBron isn't great, many of his best performances have been with King James sidelined.
The Hornets don't have the size and athleticism to match up with AD, likely rolling with a rotation of Mason Plumlee, Cody Martin, and P.J. Washington against the Lakers big. That's what happened earlier this season when Davis dropped 32 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and blocked five shots in a 126-123 overtime win against Charlotte — a game LeBron also missed.
With Charlotte struggling on the defensive end of the floor, the Lakers should be able to keep things close with the offensive firepower of Davis and Westbrook.
Prediction: Lakers +7 (-110)
Both of these teams are near the bottom of the league in scoring defense, with the Lakers surrendering 112.2 ppg and the Hornets allowing 114.6 ppg. While poor defensive play has been a big factor in that, so has the extremely fast pace played by both squads.
The Hornets are second in the league in pace while the Lakers rank third. That will result in plenty of transition buckets for both squads, with L.A. and Charlotte ranking among the Top-3 teams in the NBA in fast-break points per game while sitting in the Bottom 6 in fast-break ppg allowed.
Although the Lakers offense will be less efficient without LeBron, it will run at an even speedier tempo with Westbrook pushing the ball up the court. Take the Over.
Prediction: Over 228 (-110)
Sure the Lakers have been underachieving, but this line still looks a bit off even without LeBron.
Keep in mind that while the Hornets are 30-19 ATS this season, they have seldom been big favorites. Charlotte has been a fave of more than 5 points in just seven games this season. Those seven contests were against Orlando (three times), Houston (twice), Oklahoma City, and Detroit. Those are the four worst teams in the league and even the LeBron-less Lakers are a much more formidable opponent.
Grab the Lakers at +7 now because the Lakers have a decent chance of covering this spread even if James doesn't suit up. If he does play, this early line becomes a bargain.
Pick: Lakers +7 (-110)
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