#2 Phoenix Suns vs Los Angeles Lakers Series Betting Preview: Healthy Lakers Favored to Send Suns Packing Early

Eddie Griffin

The Phoenix Suns vs Los Angeles Lakers series might carry the most interest of any of the eight series in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Will Devin Booker and Chris Paul lead the Suns to a series win over the defending NBA champions? Or will LeBron’s Lakers be able to knock out the first of four steps on their repeat quest?

Sportsbooks Still Showing Little Love to Sizzling Suns

After a perfect run through the bubble last year nearly put them into the postseason, the Suns have been one of the stories of this NBA season. Behind the leadership of Chris Paul and a talented young core led by Devin Booker, the Suns posted their first winning record in seven years and are in the playoffs for the first time in 11 years.

Will their stay in the postseason be a short one? Or will they be able to make a run to at least the Western Conference finals? The odds are not in their favor, quite literally.

The Suns enter this series as the underdog, and they are only +850 to win the Western Conference and +1800 to win the NBA Finals in the latest odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. That puts them fourth in the Western Conference title odds and seventh in the NBA Finals title odds. They were actually +2500 to win the NBA Finals prior to the start of first-round action yesterday, but the Denver Nuggets falling into an early hole against the Portland Trail Blazers has played into Phoenix’s favor.

It’s certainly strange to see a #2 seed in that position doesn’t help that they have the most unfavorable of first-round matchups. The Lakers were on course for a high seed until injuries to Anthony Davis and then LeBron derailed their season. But their squad is healthy again, and they enter this series with six straight wins, including their play-in win over the Golden State Warriors.

Western Conference First Round Series: #2 Phoenix Suns vs #7 Los Angeles Lakers

Series Schedule

  • Sunday, May 23 | Game 1: Los Angeles at Phoenix, ABC, 3:30 pm ET
  • Tuesday, May 25 | Game 2: Los Angeles at Phoenix, TNT, 10:00 pm ET
  • Thursday, May 27 | Game 3: Phoenix at Los Angeles, TNT, 10:00 pm ET
  • Sunday, May 30 | Game 4: Phoenix at Los Angeles, ABC, 3:30 pm ET
  • Tuesday, June 1 | Game 5: Los Angeles at Phoenix, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Thursday, June 3 | Game 6: Phoenix at Los Angeles, TBD, TBD (if necessary)
  • Saturday, June 5 | Game 7: Los Angeles at Phoenix, TBD, TBD (if necessary)

Series Odds

Odds to Win the Series

  • Los Angeles Lakers: -178
  • Phoenix Suns: +144

Series Spread

  • Los Angeles Lakers -1.5 (+118)
  • Phoenix Suns +1.5 (-144)

Series Correct Score Odds

  • 4-0 Los Angeles Lakers +900
  • 4-1 Los Angeles Lakers +500
  • 4-2 Los Angeles Lakers +310
  • 4-3 Los Angeles Lakers +470
  • 4-0 Phoenix +1800
  • 4-1 Phoenix +700
  • 4-2 Phoenix +700
  • 4-3 Phoenix +470

That the healthy Lakers are favored in this series isn’t a surprise, despite the home court disadvantage. But can they nab an early win in Phoenix to shift the odds even more in their favor?

Phoenix Suns vs Los Angeles Lakers Statistical Summary

Suns vs Lakers Regular Season Betting Statistics

  • Phoenix Suns: 51-21 SU, 42-28-2 ATS, 42-30 O/U
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 42-30 SU, 32-39-1 ATS, 31-41 O/U

Phoenix Suns Season Statistics

  • PPG: 115.3 (7th)
  • FG%: 49.0% (2nd)
  • 3PT FG%: 37.8% (7th)
  • Scoring Defense: 109.5 ppg (7th)

Los Angeles Lakers Season Statistics

  • PPG: 109.5 (22nd)
  • FG%: 47.2% (12th)
  • 3PT FG%: 35.4% (21st)
  • Scoring Defense: 106.8 ppg (2nd)

Phoenix Suns vs Los Angeles Lakers Head-to-Head Results

  • May 9: Los Angeles Lakers 123-110 Phoenix Suns
  • March 21: Phoenix Suns 111-94 Los Angeles Lakers
  • March 2: Los Angeles Lakers 104-114 Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns vs Los Angeles Lakers Betting Breakdown

Backing the Suns: Three Key Factors

  • 1. Avoiding the early hole: It would be a stretch to say that the series would be over if the Lakers were to take Game 1 in Phoenix. But a 1-0 series lead is far more important for the Suns than it is for the Lakers, who were not deterred by losing the opener in the first two rounds last season. Falling behind 1-0 will not make the Lakers’ task any different, nor will it add more pressure on them. As for the Suns? No one knows how they will respond in such a scenario.
  • 2. Defend the three: The Suns were fifth in the regular season in defending the three, with opponents hitting only 35.4 percent of their attempts from outside. But perimeter defense was one thing that tripped them up in the Lakers’ recent win at Staples Center. The Lakers are one of the league’s poorer three-point shooting teams, but they made 13 of 30 (43.3 percent) in that win.
  • 3. Big games for Booker: The Suns haven’t needed Devin Booker to be a dominant scorer night in, night out this season. But he did have 22 games with 30 or more points this season, and they resulted in Suns wins more often than not. When he scored 30 or more points, the Suns went 15-7 SU.

Backing the Lakers: Three Key Factors

  • 1. Drummond must deliver: Andre Drummond has proven to be a nice late-season addition for the Lakers, but he was held to only four points and seven rebounds in Wednesday’s win over the Warriors. He doesn’t need to be out there putting up massive numbers, but averaging a double-double would be valuable.
  • 2. Limit lackluster play: The Lakers showed against the Warriors that they can be horrible and still end up winning. But that is one of the perks of having two superstars on their side, which came in quite handy with LeBron hitting the decisive three to see off Golden State. But they can’t expect to play badly and be bailed out every time. There will inevitably be bad stretches, but they must minimize the impact of those bad stretches.
  • 3. LeBron James and Anthony Davis must be dominant: In the postseason, your stars need to be stars. They won’t put up big numbers in every game, and they won’t need to in order to win every game. But the stars are stars for a reason, and they need to show that more times than not over the course of a best-of-seven series.

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