Lakers’ odds to make the playoffs still offer big value

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

Are the Los Angeles Lakers back?

Since adding Malik Beasley, D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Mo Bamba at the trade deadline, Los Angeles is 4-1 and has moved to within one game of the No. 10 seed and final play-in tournament spot in the Western Conference.

That’s caused the Lakers’ playoff odds to rise, but you can still get them at plus money to get into the postseason.

Western Conference playoff odds

Lakers’ odds to make the playoffs

Can the Lakers make the playoffs?

Any team that has LeBron James is going to be a threat to make the postseason, but the Lakers have taken some major steps in terms of their efficiency, specifically on the defensive end.

The Lakers are No. 3 in the league in defensive rating over their last five games. That’s on par with how they made the playoffs in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, ranking inside the top five in defensive rating in both of those seasons.

The key? Vanderbilt has been an elite defender, slowing down Luka Doncic on Sunday afternoon and giving the team a much-needed switchable big man.

That addition and the shooting of Beasley and Russell has been huge for raising the Lakers’ ceiling. The team has played without Russell (ankle injury) for the majority of the last two games, but the offense was still good enough to get wins over Golden State and Dallas.

It’s likely Los Angeles ends up in a play-in spot, but if you’re betting on the Lakers to make the playoffs, you’re betting on LeBron and Anthony Davis in some potential win-or-go-home scenarios.

Is there a better duo in the league to have in that spot?

With the New Orleans Pelicans falling off without Zion Williamson and the Minnesota Timberwolves in a three-game skid, it’s now or never to bet the Lakers to make the postseason.

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.