Lakers vs. Suns Odds, Pick & Preview: Target the Over/Under in Lopsided Matchup (April 5)
Jim Poorten/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers, Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns.
- The league-leading Suns host the Lakers as heavy favorites on Tuesday night in Phoenix.
- Can you trust the Suns to cover this number without much to play for?
- Raheem Palmer breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Editor’s Note: The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that LeBron James has been ruled out of Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns due to a sore ankle. For real-time injury updates, check out our FantasyLabs NBA news page.
Lakers vs. Suns Odds
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
We’ve reached the final week of the NBA’s regular season with some teams jockeying for playoff positions while others could find themselves gone fishing by week’s end.
The Phoenix Suns have no such worries as they’ve locked up the best record in the league and the No. 1 seed in the West with a 62-16 record. On Tuesday night, they’ll host the Los Angeles Lakers in a rematch of last year’s first round playoff series in what could be a funeral for the team from L.A.
After losing six straight games, the Lakers are now two games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the final spot in the Play-In Tournament. With just four games remaining, and the Spurs holding the tie-breaker, every game is a must-win for the Lakers.
Although the Suns have everything wrapped up, they could still be motivated given Anthony Davis’ midseason comments implying that his injury was the reason for the Lakers’ postseason loss in 2021.
So where’s the betting value in this game? Let’s analyze both sides and find out.
Is the End Near for the Lakers?
If it weren’t for the Brooklyn Nets, the Lakers may quite possibly be one of the most disappointing teams we’ve seen in recent memory. As the runner up for the preseason title favorite at +400, the Lakers are now +30000 to win the NBA title, which essentially means you’re throwing money away should you choose to take a shot on them at this price.
Since the All-Star break the Lakers have been one of the worst teams in the league. They’re just 4-16 during this span with a Net Rating of -7.8, only the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder have been worse.
With injuries to both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers have seen their duo play just 22 games together this season. Despite that, they haven’t exactly been world beaters with them in the lineup, going 11-11 with a Net Rating of -0.6 with an offensive rating of 111.7.
Even deeper, lineups with James and Davis on the floor this year are getting outscored by 2.5 points per 100 possessions behind and Offensive Rating of 108.8 and a Defensive Rating of 111.3. Defensively, Davis hasn’t been the same player this year either and with his shooting from midrange (38%) and from behind the arc (19%) regressing to its lowest mark since his rookie year, there’s simply not enough margin for error for this Lakers team.
James is questionable for this matchup with an ankle injury but you have to assume he will play given the importance of this game. At 37 years old, James is currently the oldest player to lead the league in scoring at 30.3 points per game and needs to play just two more games to be eligible for the scoring title.
With the Lakers all but out of it, James winning the scoring title may be the only bright spot to a disastrous season.
Will the Suns Have Motivation?
The Suns have gotten even better after the making the NBA Finals last season. They’re 62-16 behind a league best 7.8 Net Rating, they rank second in Offensive Rating (116.4) and Defensive Rating (107.6).
They hold a seven game lead over the Memphis Grizzlies and have clinched the No. 1 seed and home court advantage through the NBA Finals should they make it. Even more impressive is that they’ve maintained their dominance in the absence of Chris Paul who missed 16 games this season.
They’re also 42-35 ATS, however their dominance hasn’t translated to covering at home where they’re just 19-20 ATS. Much of this could be attributed to this team laying big numbers at home which is the spot they find themselves in Tuesday night, laying 11.5 points against the Lakers.
The Lakers haven’t been able to put up much resistance against the Suns this season with three Suns wins all coming by double digits in games with final scores of 115-105, 108-90 and 140-111. While Anthony Davis only played in their first matchup, it still speaks to the the difference in these teams.
The Suns have all the advantages in this matchup and Devin Booker has terrorized this Lakers team all season long, averaging 25.3 points, 7.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds in their three games this season. The Suns are second in half court points per 100 possessions (100.8) and should be able to capitalize on a Lakers defense which is 22nd in half court points per 100 possessions (97.5).
The Suns are fourth in 3-point shooting percentage (37.5%) and should have a massive math advantage over a Lakers team which struggles to shoot and defend the 3-point line.
With the Suns forcing the sixth-highest percentage of turnovers (14.8%) while facing a Lakers team which is 20th in turnover rate (14.3%) and 23rd in transition points per 100 possessions (3.1), the Suns should have no problems winning this game.
That said, with the Suns having everything wrapped up, motivation is a concern here and they come off 117-96 loss on the road to the Oklahoma City Thunder as 14.5 point favorites. The Suns have failed to cover three straight games and appear to be coasting as they get ready for the postseason.
However, there could be some motivation to knock the Lakers out of the postseason and with the Suns started slated to play, it’s fair to assume they’ll be looking to give an all out effort to maintain their momentum for a postseason run.
My model makes this game Suns -13.5 which implies there’s value on them with the number at -11.5. However, I think it’s best to avoid Suns spreads for the rest of the season with them having nothing to play for as they’ve clinched the No. 1 seed in the west.
That said, I’m not willing to back the Lakers either as they’ve lost six straight games and failed to cover four out of their last five. It’s just not a game I’d find much value in as far as the side.
The total is intriguing however as my model makes this game 233. The Lakers have gone over in seven out of their last nine games as they’re allowing 120.1 points per 100 possessions since the All-Star break, 28th among NBA teams.
The presence of Anthony Davis over the last two hasn’t really changed that and with the offensive firepower the Suns have with Chris Paul and Devin Booker, I see the Suns getting whatever they want offensively.
The Lakers will likely have one of their better offensive performances with James and Davis in the lineup and that should get us over the total.
Pick: Over 232.5 (-110)