Two Western Conference heavyweights will face off on Thursday night (03:00 Friday morning UK time) as the Los Angeles Lakers welcome the Phoenix Suns to the Crypto.com Arena.
The Lakers were defeated by the Denver Nuggets in their season opener, while the Suns pulled off a 108-104 victory over the Golden State Warriors to kick-start the 2023-24 campaign.
Jarred Vanderbilt missed the defeat against Denver due to injury and is expected to be absent once again here for the Lakers.
The Suns were unable to complete their new-look lineup on opening night with Bradley Beal being held back due to a back issue, and his status for this game remains up in the air.
Phoenix Suns (+5.5) @ 10/11
The Suns got off to a good start on Tuesday night, winning at Golden State, even without star acquisition Bradley Beal, and I believe that they should have enough firepower here to take the victory.
The loss of Jarred Vanderbilt to start the season is important to the Lakers’ rotation, and I’m surprised they are favourites on the money line, given their performance against Denver.
It looks like LeBron James is going to be heavily managed with a minutes restriction, and Anthony Davis scored zero points in the second half of the game against the Nuggets – that doesn’t fill me with confidence for the Lakers coming into this match.
I believe in Phoenix more so I’m backing them to cover on the spread.
Under 224.5 points @ 10/11
Although we only have one game to go off, the total points tally was under in the two sides’ respective season openers, so I’m backing it once again.
Knowing that LeBron James is likely to be on a minutes restriction should make the Lakers even more of an ‘under’ team this season. He is not only a gifted scorer but their best facilitator, too.
When Phoenix are fully healthy, they’ll have plenty of scoring within their ranks, but that’s the issue – they’re not fully healthy coming into this game.