Lakers head coach Mike Brown has been assured that his job is safe for now, but the book has now been opened on his departure with the ex-Cavaliers playcaller rated at 2.60 to no longer be in charge by mid-February. With so much talent acquired and money invested in bringing another title to Tinseltown, it would be a shock if there were not a few flurries of anxiety on the bench when he guides his side into battle against the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.
After just one victory in six attempts since the regular season began, Los Angeles have looked at best dysfunctional and at worst woeful, with even Kobe Bryant seemingly powerless to drag them out of the mire. No team has committed more turnovers and although Bryant and Dwight Howard are averaging almost 50 points in unison, there has been little else to like.
Howard will, at least, not have to go up against Warriors centre Andrew Bogut, who is on the injured list yet again. But Golden State are off to their most promising start in years behind David Lee and Stephen Curry so they're a threat at 3.55 to pile more pressure on the Lakers despite being rated at +6.5 points on the handicap.
The Memphis Grizzlies take a three-game winning streak into their clash with the Houston Rockets, a run which incorporates a run of 12 consecutive victories at home. Zach Randolph leads the NBA with 15.3 rebounds per game but it is Rockets newcomer James Harden who is making all the noise with a league-high 30 points per night in Houston's 2-2 start. Memphis defensive specialist Tony Allen will see that as a challenge and with Marc Gasol clogging up the middle, it's worth a punt on the Grizz to lock up their guests by over 7 points at 1.91.
There's an intriguing match-up in Denver where Utah come calling. Both sides are 2-3 so far with the Nuggets offense yet to ignite despite a prominent role for point guard Ty Lawson in the absence of Wilson Chandler who will sit this one out. The Jazz are a tempting 2.80 to prevail in regulation.
Friday's Game of the Night in the Euroleague has to be the meeting of big-spending Khimky Moscow and Panathinaikos. The Russians are 2.85 to win in Greece but have the talent to do so.
Bet of the day: Take Golden State on the handicap of +6.5 over the LA Lakers at 1.91.