Thewill get a sneak preview of what life will be like without when they play an NBA Playoffs first-round series against the , beginning with Game 1 Sunday in Alamo City (3:30 pm ET, ABC).
In early Game 1 betting, most sportsbooks were listing San Antonio as a nine-point favorite over LA. But is that a good thing for bettors? The Spurs are 2-12 ATS in their last 14 games as chalk, and the Lakers have won eight straight games against Southwest Division foes.
Many shops were also lining the Spurs at around -900 to win this series, with the short-handed Lakers getting +675 to pull the upset.
Los Angeles (45-37 SU, 34-46 ATS) struggled for most of this season, with various injuries and a lack of cohesion. But after hitting their low-water mark for the season in late January, the Lakers finished with a flourish, winning 28 of their last 40 games, including eight of their last nine, to grab the seven seed in the Western Conference.
However, disaster struck last week when Bryant popped an Achilles tendon, so he's out for the rest of this season and probably much more.
San Antonio (58-24 SU, 39-41 ATS) led the Western Conference for a good portion of this season, but also had to deal with various injuries. The Spurs then seemed to run a little low on gas right at the end, losing seven of their last 10, in the process surrendering the top seed in the West to Oklahoma City.
The Spurs took the season series from the Lakers this year, two games to one. Most recently, the Lakers beat San Antonio, 91-86, Monday in LA, which put a dent in the Spurs' effort to claim the top seed in the West.
Also, all three of the meetings between these teams this season played UNDER on the totals.
On the injury front, L.A. is, of course, without Bryant, andhas missed recent action with a sore hip and hamstring and is questionable for this series.
On the NBA futures market, San Antonio is getting +250 to win the Western Conference and +750 to win the NBA title, while LA is getting +1800 to win the West and +4000 to win the league championship.