Sunday NBA Odds, Picks, Prediction: Suns vs. Lakers Betting Preview (May 9)
Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Devin Booker.
- The biggest game on the NBA slate takes place Sunday night when the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Phoenix Suns.
- The Suns are looking to snag the No. 1 seed in the West, while the Lakers attempt to avoid the play-in tournament.
- Check out Matt Moore's betting guide for Sunday's game complete with updated odds and a pick based on his analysis below.
Suns vs. Lakers Odds
|Moneyline||-335 / +270|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
The Suns are still battling for the 1-seed, while the Lakers are just trying to hang on for dear life to try and avoid the play-in.
Here's a look at the biggest game Sunday — Suns vs. the Lake Show.
Cam Johnson won't play, which is significant as he's been key to the Suns' bench success this season.
The Suns are losing steam as the season goes on. Phoenix has been top-15 in defensive every month this season, but in the last 10 games, they are 27th. Much of that has to do with a brutal late-season schedule that had them on the road against most of the best offensive teams in the league, but it's enough to cause concern.
As a consequence, the over has hit in their last four games and eight of their last 11.
But they're still one of the most versatile and effective teams and bring a lot more firepower to the matchup than the shorthanded Lakers.
Phoenix's approach to the Lakers defensively will be interesting. Does it play small-ball with Dario Saric vs. Anthony Davis? Or go bigger? Jae Crowder figures to get a healthy amount of minutes vs. AD.
The Lakers' physical defense will probably cause issues for Phoenix's wings, but Devin Booker and Chris Paul are good enough to overcome that. The Suns own the No. 1 offense vs. top-10 defenses this season at 118, per Cleaning The Glass. The Suns are also 8-0 vs. top-10 defenses that are bottom-10 in offense, as the Lakers project without LeBron.
The other thing to keep in mind here is that the Suns will very likely face the Lakers in a 2-7 matchup after the play-in. You don't want to empty the playbook in these situations. If anything, it would strategically help the Suns if the Lakers won this game, increasing their chances to get into the 6-seed and have the Blazers fall to No. 7.
I don't expect the Suns to take that approach, but at least keep it in mind before you bet.
Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James isn't expected to play Sunday, as the return date is supposed to be either Tuesday or Wednesday. As of this writing, he's out. But bear in mind that all analysis here goes out the window if James suddenly is made available to play, as he was last time he returned against the Kings.
The Lakers are banged up.
Anthony Davis is probable with a sore calf, but then, he's always probable for some reason or another. Marc Gasol has a finger issue. Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Talen Horton-Tucker are all day-to-day. It's a mess.
The Lakers, without James, are scoring just 103 points per 100 possessions, the third-worst in the league. They beat a Denver team without most of its guards because they are the kind of team the Nuggets struggle with.
Phoenix is much more comfortable with the physicality the Lakers bring to the table and have more athletic counters for Davis. If anything, the switching style the Suns are able to play is a bad matchup for the Lakers, and even more so without LeBron to punish those decisions. LA doesn't have the ballhandlers to create enough offense against the Suns.
The circumstances around this game are a little wonky.
I like the over here based on a few scenarios. Either the Suns continue their rough defensive ways and give up a big number to a bad offense, the Suns take this game off because strategically it makes sense, or the Suns put up a huge scoring number themselves, and that pushes it over.
The total is only at 214, and that's down from the opener at 215.5. This number is likely to rise back the other way Sunday, and I like it to 217. Trust that one team or the other will score above 110, and don't mess with sides in a game with this much weirdness around it.
Pick: Over 215.5 (Play to 217).