The Suns and Lakers play a pivotal Game 4 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles tonight with the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed Phoenix in danger of going down three games to one in the best-of-seven series. Los Angeles has used a suffocating defense reminiscent of the one that helped win them the NBA Championship last summer to smother the league’s seventh best scoring offense, holding the Suns to under 100 points per game thus far.
Let’s take a closer look at the best wagering markets with our Suns vs. Lakers Game 4 betting pick, complete with the best odds, prop predictions, and analysis.
Phoenix point guard, Chris Paul, has been dealing with a shoulder injury that has noticeably hampered his game, while the Lakers add Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a short list of questionable players that includes star big man, Anthony Davis, who continues to play through an ankle injury. Davis has been dominant in the last two games, both Los Angeles wins, posting 34 points in each.
The series has been defined by defense, which is less than surprising, given this matchup of the seventh and second best scoring defenses and two top-five three-point field goal percentage defenses.
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Suns vs. Lakers Game 4 Odds
Here are the current odds for Suns vs. Lakers at DraftKings Sportsbook:
|SUNS||+6.5 (-110)||+215||O 210 (-109)|
|LAKERS||-6.5 (-110)||-265||U 210 (-113)|
Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Phoenix Suns +10.5 AND Under 214.5 Total Points (FanDuel Sportsbook +130)
This matchup is unique in that the Lakers began the series as the first No. 7 seed to be favored to advance over a No. 2 seed. It also features likely Hall of Famers on both teams who are looking to secure their legacies in different ways. The end result is two extremely hungry teams who believe they belong here playing elite defense all but lost to today’s NBA.
We will break down the under the total portion of this wager more in our next selection, but we could not resist bumping up the under here roughly five points above its posted number at most legal online sportsbooks. Doing so provides us a total that is a full basket higher than any of the previous three games has produced in terms of total points.
This game is the most critical yet for both teams. A win for the Lakers would give them a commanding 3-1 series lead, making Game 5 in Phoenix a free roll chance to close out the series for them. A win for Phoenix knots the series up at 2-2, giving them back their home court advantage as they head home for Game 5 Tuesday.
A Recipe for Defense
The importance of today’s meeting could mean the tightest game yet. Both teams are star-driven, despite having some useful role players, and this could be a game where we see the ball in the hands of the stars even more often, which would shrink the clock and shorten the game. Where LeBron James, Davis, and Paul are in their careers, they are not looking to get out in transition after every missed shot. They are trying to make better decisions and bigger plays in key moments than the other guy, putting their teams in the best position to win late. That is not a recipe for high-scoring basketball, as we have witnessed.
Yes, Game 3 ended up decided by 14 points, but it was also a game where Phoenix seemed rudderless throughout, yet whittled away a 21-point lead by Los Angeles in the final quarter, getting the game within eight points with under three minutes to play. Two days off for the Suns and Coach Monty Williams should provide them the time they need to keep this one close throughout, if not steal the win, especially against a Lakers team that has failed to cover any of its last four games on two days of rest.
Phoenix did not lose any game by double digits in the second of back-to-back games in the same building this season. In those five tries, they won four of the second legs outright, with two of those victories coming after a loss in the first game.
Interestingly, prior to Game 3 of this series, Phoenix only lost eight games by double digits all season. They did lose a single one of the subsequent games by double digits, winning five of them outright. Further, the Suns only lost three games in a row one time this season and the third loss also came by single digits.
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Betting Trends to Know
Phoenix was a tremendous cover team all season long at 42-28-2 ATS in the regular season. They face a Lakers group that is just 34-40-1 ATS overall and 15-22 ATS here at home. Los Angeles was just 14-10 straight up at home after a win and an abysmal 8-16 ATS in that role. Meanwhile, the Suns were a solid 8-4 both SU and ATS on the road after a loss. Entering this series, Phoenix was also 5-2 ATS as a dog of three or more points.
We are getting considerably more than the spread here and also playing on a Suns team that has been tremendous as a playoff underdog and in bounceback situations. Phoenix has lost ATS just twice in their last nine games as dogs in the Playoffs. They have covered in 11 of their last 15 games after a straight up loss this season, as well as 22 of their last 30 following a failed cover.
The Lakers have not covered any of their last seven games after a double digit win and had lost four straight games ATS as a home favorite before Game 3. It’s hard to believe that they can fully just flip the switch here, having covered just two of their last 15 games after a straight up win entering this series.
Take the inflated total and generous double digit spot for the Suns here and enjoy the generous payout another low-scoring, close game should provide.
Suns vs. Lakers Game 4 Prediction
We mentioned above that we will dive into the under-the-total angle a bit more here, so let’s do just that. What you have to love about these two teams is their abilities to realize the importance of each game at this point in the series. That is a direct result of the leaders on both teams.
James, Davis, and Paul realize that chances to win NBA Titles are hard to come by, especially at this point in their respective careers. The focus of these stars rubs off on their team and the result has been games where every possession is valued.
As such, we have seen two teams that already ranked just 19th and 27th in the league in shot attempts per game dip even lower than their season averages in this series. In fact, neither the Suns, who average 87.9 field goal attempts per game on the season, nor the Lakers, who average 85.9 on the year, have topped 86 shots in any of the three games of this series. Phoenix has averaged less than 80 shots in the three games, with LA putting up just 80.7 per game. There’s just less basketball being played here, folks!
We also believe oddsmakers may be a little boxed in here with this total. This is a league where high-scoring is the norm and it’s hard for them to adjust on the fly to two teams who combine to average 224.8 points per game on the season, suddenly playing games to 189, 211, and 204.
There’s only so much they can do to compensate and the progressive lowering of the total from 214 in Game 1, to 211 in Games 2 and 3, to today’s 209.5 is about as aggressive as they can realistically be without risking getting massively burned the other way.
Betting Trends to Know
While Phoenix was a decidedly over-the-total team on the season, with an O/U record of 42-32-1, things changed considerably in games similar to the role they play today. They played 13 of 23 games under the number after a loss (56.5%) and 18 of 33 games under after an opponent’s win (54.5%).
The Lakers were, in fact, far more likely to play under the total (28-45-2 O/U record overall) this season and as the home favorites, we expect them to dictate a style of play once again conducive to a low-scoring game. They played six of their nine day games under the total (66.7%), as well as 27 of their 43 games against Western Conference foes (62.8%). They also mirrored Phoenix’s tendency to play under in today’s role, as they saw 27 of their 43 games after a win stay under (62.8%), along with 22 of their 36 games under the number against opponents off a loss (61.1%).
The Lakers have played seven of their last eight games under the total after a double digit win. They have seen just five of their last 22 games go over against teams with above .600 win percentages. They have played under the number in 10 of their last 14 games as home favorites and have gone over in just one of their last six games as playoff favorites.
Suns vs. Lakers Pick
If all of this wasn’t compelling enough, these two teams continue to play low when they get together, as well. We essentially discussed the fact that just one of the last five head-to-head meetings this season went over, but should also mention that six of the last eight meetings here in Los Angeles have also stayed below the posted total.
Our Pick: Pho/LAL Under 210
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