Lakers vs. Suns Odds, Expert Pick, Preview & Prediction: How to Bet With LeBron James’ Injury (Tuesday, November 22)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Anthony Davis and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.
- The Los Angeles Lakers face Phoenix Suns Tuesday and look to extend their three-game winning streak.
- Both teams are dealing with injuries, but the Suns enter the matchup as double-digit favorites with LeBron James out.
- Jim Turvey explains his betting approach for either scenario.
Editor’s Note: LeBron James will be out for the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night. For real-time injury updates, check out our FantasyLabs NBA news page.
Lakers vs. Suns Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
We’re now over a month into the NBA season and despite most teams having played around 20% of their schedule, we really don’t have many haves and have-nots.
Instead, parity has ruled the day; outside of the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks (the Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons, and Charlotte Hornets are the other end of the spectrum), you’d be hard-pressed to guarantee where each team will be in the postseason picture by season’s end.
So let’s lead off with the road team and take a look at what they’ve been up to lately.
Are the Lakers … Back?
The Lakers have won three in a row, but if you are smart enough to be getting your content from Action Network, you know better than to take that a face value.
Those three wins were against the Brooklyn Nets (no Kyrie Irving or Ben Simmons), the Pistons (no Cade Cunningham), and the San Antonio Spurs (no real talent; sorry Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell, the Rule of Three compelled me). All three games were in L.A., and only the last one was a blowout, which started the chatter about the Lakers looking decent.
It also doesn’t hurt the content machine that is ‘Lakers Drama’ that LeBron James has been out for this winning streak — just please kindly ignore that the Lakers are 0-2 in the games against actual opposition they have played without James.
Anthony Davis, I have to admit, has looked great in the last three games, though, again, look at the rosters he has faced. The Lakers have been spreading it out around him, and by averaging 35.0/17.3/3.0 (stocks) over the last three, it’s been his best stretch of stats since playing in the Bubble.
As bettors, we need to note the competition he has faced in that stretch, but for Lakers fans (and Lakers backers at the books), it’s a much needed sign that the AD of old might still exist.
As you can likely, I am certainly not high on the Lakers’ long-term prospects. I would be shocked if they made the playoffs, and even quite surprised if they made the Play-In Tournament, which is a crazy state of affairs for this team to be in, but it’s where we are.
From a day-to-day perspective, however, there can still be potential to bet on any team in the league, of course. I don’t need to tell you that that’s the beauty of the spread.
So, how are things looking for their opposition on Tuesday, and how might the two match up?
The Weird and Steady Phoenix Suns
The Suns are 10-6 on the season, but have basically been trading wins and losses back-and-forth throughout the month of November.
They are currently playing without their point god, Chris Paul, who went out with a heel injury six games ago, during which they have gone 3-3. They are also playing without Cameron Johnson for at least another month after his hot start the season. Landry Shamet, who seemed like a great fit to fill in some of those backcourt minutes, has struggled to get on the court of late due to a concussion.
It’s been a strange season for the Suns, to say the least: Deandre Ayton’s oft-apathetic play, most notably his rebounds per game are down from 10.4 per game for his career to 8.1 this season, Jae Crowder’s refusal to play for the team and pending trade request and, of course, the team’s potential sale by owner Robert Sarver.
At the same time, Mikal Bridges appears to be auditioning for the role of the Human Torch (just hope he doesn’t apply for a bank loan), Devin Booker is a potential MVP candidate who seems to be taking well to even more of a playmaking role and Cameron Payne has once again proven to be a steady backup to Paul when he inevitably misses games this late in his career.
From a statistical standpoint, the Suns rank in the top 10 in 3-pointers made per game and second in assists per 100 possessions. On defense, they limit 3s (fourth-fewest 3-point shots allowed per game) and play great defense inside the arc (49.9% field goal percentage allowed on 2-point attempts, fourth-best in the NBA).
This is a very good team playing very solid basketball despite everything going on around them. That being said, they have been highly unpredictable. In their first five games without CP3, they lost the three games in which they were the favorite and won the two games in which they were the underdog.
I talked about this a bit on the BUCKETS podcast Sunday night, but there is a level of chaos that these all-too-common injuries around the league bring to betting.
The big question when writing these game previews always seems to be who is going to be available. For this game, Davis is probable, while James is questionable. On the Suns’ side, Paul and Shamet don’t have updated news, but both seem unlikely to play.
If I can go big brain for a second, James likely hates to hear about his team winning when he’s out. If I’m playing armchair psychologist here, he’s probably looking at Tuesday night’s game as a game that, if he returns and they lose, becomes a little bit of a thing (even though it would be very stupid thing, it still would be a thing). If he doesn’t play, however, they are likely to lose and everyone would be able to say the recent winning streak had just been a result of the easy schedule.
All this psychobabble is the result of having to prognosticate on injuries, but you, dear reader, have the luxury of waiting until the injury report is actually out, and with a game like this, I would highly suggest doing so.
I don’t think the line will move too much if James is officially ruled out (the line seems to imply Vegas thinks it is unlikely he will play), and hopefully when that is announced, you can head to the player prop markets for L.A., as well, because that’s where I see more value. (I do, however, like Phoenix up to -8 if James is officially out.)
Davis has been putting up crooked numbers with James out this most recent stint, but the books have been adjusting. After posting a points + rebounds + assists line of 39.5 after his first LeBron-less game, that number jumped to 42.5 last time out. Given that he blew past that number again, I’d say there’s a chance of it getting up to 44.5 for Tuesday’s game.
If it does reach those heights, I wouldn’t hate a zag to the under. The Suns are one of the best defensive teams against bigs, play at a slower pace, and as mentioned above, are great in terms of two-point defense.
The narrative hype around Davis without James may skew this number, but remember who he was posting those numbers against. Most of his boost in production has come thanks to a higher field goals percentage from Davis in the last three games, which wouldn’t necessarily be tied solely to James missing time.
In fact, one would expect the shots he’s getting to be more difficult, so it seems the jump is due to either small sample variance, or the quality of the opponent. He was getting 2.2 more FGA up, but that’s not enough to explain the massive jumps.
Pick: Anthony Davis under 44.5 PTS + REB + AST (I would take under 43.5 at -105 or better as well)
Lean: Phoenix -7.5 (take to -8; both of these reliant on James being out)
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