No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers vs. No. 2 Phoenix Suns Betting Preview
Line: Los Angeles -7
Where: Staples Center
When: Thursday, 5/27 at 10:00 p.m. ET
The betting market is expecting Los Angeles to hold serve on Thursday night after it stole home court with a win at Phoenix on Tuesday.
However, oddsmakers have not made a significant adjustment outside of the standard 2.5-3 points for home court advantage. The Lakers opened as 6.5-point favorites for Game 3, with the line moving up to -7 as of early Thursday morning.
They were two-point underdogs in Game 1 when Phoenix picked up a 99-90 win. However, they flipped to -1.5 heading into the second game, cashing those tickets with a 109-102 win to level the series.
Anthony Davis responded from a disappointing performance to score a game-high 34 points on Tuesday night. Phoenix went on a late run in the fourth quarter, but LeBron James hit a fadeaway jumper and Davis added a 3-pointer to give their team a crucial cushion. Davis went 18 of 21 from the free throw line and completed his double-double right before the horn.
James and Davis have both been hampered by injuries throughout the season, but they put together critical minutes down the stretch on Tuesday. The Lakers led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter.
Phoenix would not go away, though, eventually taking an 88-86 lead when Deandre Ayton slammed home an offensive rebound. Devin Booker led the Suns with 31 points, making all 17 of his free throws.
A key storyline heading into Game 3 is the status of Phoenix point guard Chris Paul. He injured his shoulder during Sunday’s series opener and was limited in the second half on Tuesday. Paul played just 23 minutes and was on the bench for the game’s waning moments, a decision made by head coach Monty Williams.
The early injury report lists Paul as ‘probable’ for Game 3. Cameron Payne stepped up in Paul’s absence, scoring 19 points and dishing out seven assists.
Los Angeles is now 4-8 against Pacific Division teams this season. The Lakers lead the Western Conference defensively, allowing 106.8 points per game. Phoenix went 7-5 against divisional opponents this season and ranks fifth in the NBA in fast break points per game (13.1).
Ayton has converted 21 of 24 shots through the first two games of the series, but Andre Drummond is playing well for the Lakers. Drummond is averaging 11 points and 10.2 rebounds over his last 10 games.
The Suns dominated the boards in the opening game, outrebounding Los Angeles 47-33. It was a different story in Game 2, as the Lakers took advantage of their interior presence and won the rebounding battle.
Phoenix has been one of the most profitable teams in the NBA this season, going 43-29-2 against the spread. The Suns are 19-15-2 ATS on the road and have won eight of their 13 games as underdogs outright. They have gone ‘over’ in 10 of their last 12 games.
Los Angeles is 33-41-1 ATS, including a 14-23 ATS mark at the Staples Center. The Lakers are riding a five-game home winning streak, but they are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games. They have gone ‘under’ at a 43-30-2 overall clip this season.
The pick: Phoenix +7
Phoenix really missed the veteran presence that Paul provides down the stretch on Tuesday. While his status is up in the air for Game 3, the Suns still have the firepower to keep this game within the number. Los Angeles had to put some serious strain on its two stars in Game 2, as it had the pressure of avoiding a 2-0 hole. Davis and James came through, but I still have questions about their level heading into this one. They have both been managing injuries throughout the season and this is a quick turnaround after a taxing game. Phoenix is a much younger team that should be able to bring energy on Thursday. The Suns were not a fluke in the regular season and are not getting enough respect from oddsmakers in this matchup.