It’s Showtime: Los Angeles Lakers Set To Make A Run At 2021-22 NBA Championship

Written By Marc Meltzer on October 18, 2021

The 2021-22 NBA season has arrived.

And while Nevada does not have a franchise for now, that could change in the next few years. League commissioner Adam Silver said that Las Vegas will be considered if the NBA expands down the road.

In the meantime, Las Vegas residents should continue to see more Los Angeles Lakers jerseys in the sportsbooks than any other NBA team. Between the proximity to Los Angeles, relocated residents, weekend visitors from Southern California and numerous preseason games over the years, the purple and gold have made a second home in Las Vegas.

Heading into the season, the Lakers are +375 to bring the NBA Championship back to the City of Angels. That’s second only behind the Brooklyn Nets, who are +250 to win it all via BetMGM.

The Lakers are +170 favorites to win the Western Conference according to the sportsbook. For comparison, their season-opening opponent Golden State Warriors rank second with futures odds of +425. Ironically, the Lakers season win total of 52.5 (over +115/under -135) is only matched by the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference.

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Newly formed ‘360’ Lakers take aim at NBA title

The Lakers made a slew of roster moves during the offseason, seemingly all of which grabbed major headlines. Los Angeles enters the 2021-22 NBA season with a new ”Big 3” of players that have dubbed themselves as ”360.”

This year, Lebron James and Anthony Davis are joined by superstar point guard Russell Westbrook. The trio of players hopes to bring the Larry O’Brien championship trophy back to Los Angeles for the second time in three years.

The opening night lineup will obviously be led by the big three. This is the projected lineup for the first game of the season:

  • Russell Westbrook
  • Malik Monk
  • Kent Bazemore
  • LeBron James
  • Anthony Davis

The Lakers are favored at home over the division rival Golden State Warriors by 3.5 points with a moneyline of -170 according to BetMGM Nevada. The over/under total for the first game of the season is 228.5.

Player prop betting for Lakers-Warriors

BetMGM has a slew of player props for the Lakers against the Warriors. Some over/under highlights include:

  • Lebron James: 24.5 points (over even, under -130); 6.5 rebounds (over -125, under -105)
  • Anthony Davis: 24.5 points (over -105, under -125); 8.5 rebounds (over ever, under -130)
  • Russell Westbrook: 19.5 points (over -120, under -110); 8.5 assists (over -145, under +115)

James is the only player in the Lakers Big 3 to have over/under odds for points, rebounds and assists at BetMGM. His assist total sits at 6.5 (over +120, under -155).

The Big 3 also lead the way for a Lakers player to win MVP. James ranks seventh to win the award this season at +1400, while Davis and Westbrook are both +2500 to take home the regular-season MVP.

Lakers add depth in quest for NBA championship

The Lakers didn’t stop adding talent with the finalization of the new Big 3. The team added a number of support players.

Kendrick Nunn and Malik Monk should add shooting and defense to the Lakers. The team also brought Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard and Rashon Rondo back to Los Angeles.

The additions of veterans Carmelo Anthony and DeAndre Jordon will add some depth to the lineup if they remain healthy. While Anthony could also serve as a center if called upon, that’s the only natural position for Jordan. He and Howard will be the only true backup for Davis, although Lakers coach Frank Vogel will be creative when using players off the bench.

This influx of players will go a long way to make up for the departures of Alex Caruso, Dennis Schröder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol.

These current bench players could have a bigger impact on the Lakers season than anyone is expecting. The Lakers Big 3 aren’t young superstars any longer. James is heading into his 19th season, for example, and Davis has been relatively injury-prone in recent years.

Westbrook plays with the reckless abandon fans love, but that could make him susceptible to injury. In fact, only Michael Jordan has a higher usage rate than Westbrook according to Basketball-Reference.

The Lakers should be the standouts of the Western Conference unless the team is hit with an abundance of injuries to the Big 3.

Photo by AP / Ringo H.W. Chiu
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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