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L.A. vs. Charlotte Free NBA Pick (Mar. 31)

Los Angeles at Charlotte – Are the Lakers Slipping?

Los Angeles Lakers (58-15 SU, 37-35-1 ATS) at Charlotte Bobcats (33-40 SU, 44-29 ATS)

BetUS NBA Betting Odds: L.A. LAKERS -5.5, Total 191

Here are some of the NBA betting trends as they relate to this matchup:

* LA has covered four of its last five games
* LA has won five of its last six games SU* LA has played seven of its last eight games UNDER the total
* LA has won and covered six of its last seven road games
* LA has played four of its last five road games UNDER the total
* CHAR has won and covered five of its last seven games
* CHAR has played five of its last six gams UNDER the total
* CHAR has covered 14 of its last 18 home games
* CHAR has won eight of its last 11 home games SU
* CHAR has played four of its last five home games UNDER the total

Also…

* CHAR has covered seven of the last eight meetings
* CHAR has won five of the last six meetings SU
* Three of the last four meetings have gone UNDER the total
* CHAR has had the shooting edge in five of the last seven meetings
* CHAR has had the rebounding edge in each of the last five meetings

We recognize that the Lakers will be looking for a little redemption after shooting a horrid 35% against Atlanta in Sunday’s ballgame in the process of dropping an 86-76 verdict. Obviously it was out of character for Kobe & Co., with that point total falling 31.5 points below the season average for the Western Conference leaders. That was this team’s first loss after four wins on the current road trip. Now, if you want to hear something really interesting, it’s that the Lakers are anything but a bunch of stoppers when they’re the visiting team, giving up almost 47% shooting to the opposition.

Some of the Lakers are, of course, playing very well. Pau Gasol has achieved double digits in rebounds in each of his last six games, and he exploded for 36 points against New Jersey on Friday. Lamar Odom has scored above his season average in six of his last seven outings.

Now here’s the rough part: Kobe Bryant has shot 40% or less in six of his last seven games. And in case you were wondering about Trevor Ariza, in his first six games as a starter, he averaged 15 points a game. In his last four, he’s down to eight points a game.

Charlotte has won five of the last six meetings in this series, so you know they pump up the intensity when they face off against this opponent. They’ve squared off once this season, on January 27, where Charlotte won a 117-110 double-overtime thriller, as two of Larry Brown’s key acquisitions, Boris Diaw and Raja Bell, combined for 40 points. Gerald Wallace suffered a collapsed lung and broke a rib in this game, and had to spend some time in a Los Angeles hospital. He eventually missed seven games. He’s since come back to spearhead the Bobcat playoff drive, and has shot 58% in the month of March.

Charlotte’s working hard, and has plenty to play for, sitting just two games in back of Chicago for the 8th spot in the East. That would be a triumph for Brown in his first year at the helm. We’re grabbing the points with Charlotte, the 5.5-point underdog in the BetUS NBA basketball sports betting odds.

Our PLAY: CHARLOTTE +5.5 ***

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