The Phoenix Suns have been one of the feel-good stories of this young NBA season, and have been especially good of late, winning eight of their past ten games to shoot up to fourth in the Western Conference at 22-11. The Suns now find themselves just one game behind the Los Angeles Lakers after the defending champs’ corresponding stretch of five losses in six games during that period.
Free Picks: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns
Lakers And Suns Clash In Big-Time Western Conference Showdown (Season Betting Record: 51-47)
The Lakers have gotten it back on track, however, winning their last two games following that ugly spell. A lot of L.A.’s issues can be traced to the absence of Dennis Schroder, who missed four straight games, all Laker losses. Schroder isn’t the end all be all for the Lakeshow, but his role is very important in that it allows all of his teammates to remain in the roles more suited to them.
Guys like Alex Caruso don’t have to worry about scoring when Schroder’s in the lineup, and can therefore play a lot harder on the defensive end. The Lakers have one of the best defensive units in the league, and that’s due in no small part to Schroder and his sticky on-ball defending as well.
While the Suns have been hot this season, they have yet to take on the Lakers, and have historically struggled against them, going 3-9 against the spread over the past dozen meetings. With a guard-heavy offense like the Suns coming to town, L.A. seems well-matched on that end.
When LeBron wants to play, he can really play, and considering this is a Chris Paul-led squad just a game back in the standings, you can expect the King to bring it. The Suns have been the better team lately, but the Lakers seem to be getting back into a groove, so we like the Lakers moneyline at ample -134 NBA odds as the first of our NBA picks for this intriguing West Coast showdown.
If you like the Lakers to win this one as well, the over on their 108.5 team total points prop at lovely -109 odds is another wager to consider. When the Lakers win, they’re not usually held down on the offensive end, having scored 109+ points in 18 of their 24 victories this season, including in seven of their past eight triumphs.
Another of our top picks for this matchup is the under on the game’s 217.5 total points prop at just-barely acceptable -135 odds. What we have at the Staples Center is a big-time matchup, but it’s a big-time matchup between two of the best defensive teams in basketball: L.A. allows just 105.6 points per game (second in the NBA) and Phoenix is just a hair behind them in fourth (107.5).
If the New Orleans Pelicans are an over bettor’s wet dream, the Lakers are the equivalent for nerdy under lovers. LeBron and the boys have hit the under in 66 percent of their games this season, which includes unders in seven of their past eight contests. We hate to bet unders, but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
The Suns have been shooting the ball at an insane rate over the past ten games, boasting NBA-leading shooting percentages from the field (52.3) and the three-point line (42.4) during that span. That kind of shooting is completely unsustainable, and a date with a brick wall of a defense like the Lakers could be the thing to bring them crashing back down to earth like a guy waking up to a colossal hangover. With the Suns way past due for a reality check, the under very well could be one of the best bets for today.
Though we clearly don’t expect his team to do all that well on Tuesday night in the City of Angels, we still like Paul’s prospects in this game. Sure, the defense of Caruso and Schroder will be hard on him, but most of their efforts will likely be centered around Paul’s backcourt mate, Devin Booker, who’s coming off a 43-point effort in his last time out. Paul is no stranger to the Lakers, either.
Over his long, illustrious career, Paul has not played any team in the regular season as many as the 52 times that he’s suited up to face off against the Lakers. He has averaged 20.0 points across those games, his third highest mark against any single opponent, not to mention that the Lakers are one of just five teams against which Paul has a career field goal percentage above 50 percent. We like the veteran to come out strong against LeBron and the Lakers and cover his 16.5 points prop at -115 odds.
- Los Angeles is 9-3 ATS in the last dozen meetings
- Los Angeles has scored 109+ points in 18 of their 24 wins this season
- Los Angeles games have hit the under at a rate of 66 percent this season, tied for tops in the NBA
- Chris Paul has averaged 20.0 points across 52 career games against Los Angeles
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Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve.
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