Lakers rejuvenated after trade? Can they hang with Bucks? Best Bets for Thursday (Feb. 9)

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Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James celebrates after scoring to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA's all-time leading scorer during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Thursday, Feb. 9:

TOP PLAY

The play: NBA, Lakers +8 over Bucks

The odds: -110

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 10 p.m. (TNT)

Our take: Our “fade the public” bet worked so well on Wednesday that we decided to get super crazy here. We all know you bet against Bucks at your own peril, but here’s thinking the big trade for the Lakers could give them a momentum boost. Also, getting past the LeBron James all-time scoring leader circus could help recharge this underachieving team.

In their first meeting this season in early December, the Lakers went into Milwaukee as an 8.5-point dog and won outright, 133-129, as Anthony Davis posted 44 points, while James scored 28.

Another thing is L.A. – for whatever reason – just seems to play better against the top tier of the NBA. They covered at the Knicks and Celtics last week and the weekend before and against the Grizzlies the week before that (defeating New York and Memphis outright). Earlier in January, they covered against Philly, at Denver and at Sacramento.

Meanwhile, the Bucks certainly can blow teams out of the water, but they have been in plenty of tight ones, too. They seem to be great one night and just OK the next. They haven’t covered in three consecutive games since early November, and they’re coming off back-to-back covers vs. Miami and at Portland.

HAWKEYES TRY TO STAY HOT

The play: NCAA men’s basketball, Iowa +7.5 over Purdue

The odds: -102

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Our take: It has been an off season for the Hawkeyes, while Purdue is a previous No. 1 team in the country (although they are coming off a 79-74 loss at Indiana last weekend).

That being said, Iowa has been money against the spread, covering in 14 out of 23 games this season and seven out of their past nine. They’re also coming off three consecutive Big Ten victories, including two by double digits against Northwestern and Rutgers.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Wednesday’s best bets

NBA: Timberwolves +5.5 over Jazz (WON)

NBA: Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards to score under 27.5 points (LOST)

Wednesday’s record: 1-1

Total for the week: 2-4

Total for February: 8-7

Total for 2023: 33-41

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, a $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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