Greeting basketball fans. Welcome to our NBA coverage here at Latest Basketball News. One of the games on tap for Thursday night features the Phoenix Suns (1-0) taking on the Los Angeles Lakers (0-1).
Both ball clubs look slightly different than the squads that exited last year’s playoffs. It will be interesting to see if changes to the respective rosters propel either team to the top of the Western Conference.
Here is a look at which team has the edge going into this matchup and why.
When: Thursday, October 25, 2023 at 10:00 PM ET
Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers – In-Season Stats & Betting Trends
The Phoenix Suns kicked off their season with an impressive win over the Golden State Warriors. This matchup marked the first time Kevin Durant has played in the Bay Area following a three-year successful stint in which he played an integral in helping the Warriors win back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018.
“It’s always good to be recognized for the work you put in so it was exciting to see people I hadn’t seen in a while, some familiar faces,” Durant said, via ESPN. “I feel like the fan base here got nothing but love and respect for me as an individual player and as a person. That’s all I can ask for.”
While Durant did not have a great shooting night, connecting on just seven of his 22 attempts, he did haul in 11 rebounds. Even more important, the Suns came away with a 108-104 victory. Devin Booker paced the Suns’ scoring attack with 32 points (13-for-21) to go along with six rebounds and eight assists.
On the other side of this Pacific Division matchup is a Lakers squad that added several new faces to its roster. And a season-opener against the defending champion Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night was just what the Lakers wanted. After all, not only were they facing off against the champs, but they were also playing against the team that swept them out of the playoffs last season.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, it was more of the same. The Nuggets jumped out to an early 18-point lead. The Lakers did fight back, however, trimming the deficit to nine points at the break (63-54). And they got within three points in the final frame. The Nuggets held on down the stretch en route to a 119-107 victory.
LeBron James – who seems to be playing on a minute’s restriction – scored 21 points in 29 minutes of action. Anthony Davis scored 17 points, but was a no-show in the second half, missing on all six of attempts.
As always, Nikola Jokic was the main cog for the Nuggets. In the first game of the season, he notched a triple-double that included 29 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.
Jamal Murray contributed 21 points and six assists. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a nice game as well, scoring 20 points and recording three steals.
The Lakers opened as a one-point favorite (via Oddshark). At the time of this writing, the line has moved to (-1.5). Here are a few reasons why going with the Suns is the right move.
- The Suns are an impressive 8-3 ATS in their last 11 matchups against the Lakers.
- In its last six road contests against Los Angeles, Phoenix is 4-2 against the spread.
- The Suns are a perfect 5-0 ATS in the last five games they played on a Thursday.
- The Lakers are a woeful 1-7 ATS in their last eight October games.
Prediction: Suns (+1.5)
The projected over/under total opened at 227.5 points. That line has moved to 229 points (via DraftKings). Here are a few trends that suggest why going with the UNDER is the better option.
- Both teams are averaging a combined total of 215 points this season, which is well below the projected score in this matchup.
- The UNDER total has cashed in four times in the Suns’ last six outings.
- In Phoenix’s last five games on the road, the UNDER total prevailed four times.
- The UNDER total has hit six times in the last seven games the Lakers have played on a Thursday.
Prediction: UNDER 229 points
Player Prop Bets
My key player to watch for the Lakers is Anthony Davis. He currently has -105 odds of scoring more than 22.5 points and -120 odds of scoring less than 22.5 points.
I’m going with the over here because Davis averaged 26 points, and 17 rebounds against the Suns in three regular-season matchups last season. Additionally, in 29 games against Phoenix, he is averaging 24.2 points and 11.9 rebounds. These factors, combined with the disappointing second-half effort we saw against the Nuggets, look for Davis to have a bounce-back performance.
My second key player is Suns’ guard, Devin Booker. He currently has -115 odds of scoring more than 26.5 points and -110 odds of scoring less than 26.5 points. In two regular-season matchups against the Lakers last season, Booker averaged 29 points per game. That, and the fact he’s coming off a 32-point performance in the season opener, it would be wise to go with the over for Booker as well.
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers – James’s Picks
Spread: Suns (+1.5)
Over/Under: Under 229 points
PPB #1: Anthony Davis OVER 22.5 points
PPB #2: Devin Booker OVER 26.5 points
The Lakers’ Anthony Davis, right, reacts after committing a foul as Phoenix’s Devin Booker walks away during the second half March 22, 2023, at Crypto.com Arena. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)