Suns vs. Lakers: Bet the Over/Under in Los Angeles

Action Network contributor Andrew O'Connor-Watts previews how to bet Suns vs. Lakers in Thursday's marquee matchup.

Suns vs. Lakers Odds

Suns Odds +5.5
Lakers Odds -5.5
Moneyline +180 / -215
Over/Under 223.5
Time Thursday, 10 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Two title contenders tip off tonight on TNT, but one will be without two of its biggest pieces.

Here’s everything you need to know about our Suns vs Lakers prediction and picks today — how to bet this NBA on TNT showdown with Devin Booker now ruled out for the Suns.

We were on this at under 224 before the news that both Bradley Beal and Devin Booker were out for the Suns. Since then, the number has risen to 226, perhaps under the assumption that the Suns will just launch 3s all night. Either way, we’ll take the extra points on the under. Here’s how we’re previewing Suns vs Lakers.

The biggest surprise for me on opening night was how good the Suns’ defense looked. The Suns held Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson to under 33% from the field. Josh Okogie and Eric Gordon both played 32 minutes for Phoenix and were able to contribute in a significant way defensively. Gordon had some major struggles on the offensive end, but Okogie scored 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting — something he likely won’t be able to do Thursday since Booker is out. Okogie might get more usage, but he’s someone who benefits from the attention Durant and Booker receive.

With the departure of Paul, questions surfaced about the Suns’ point guard situation. With Beal out against the Warriors, the answer was simple: Booker. He looked like the best player on the court — and he was playing alongside Durant and against Curry. Booker dropped 32 points on just 21 field goal attempts and dished out eight assists. Over the season, I’ll be monitoring Booker’s assists and seeing how they fluctuate when Beal is in and out of the lineup.

With both Beal and Booker out, the ball handling duties will likely fall to Eric Gordon and Jordan Goodwin. When Booker’s availability was first called into question, the total fell from 229 to 224. That was certainly the right direction for the total to fall, but did it fall far enough? Goodwin is above-average defensively, but below average on offense, while Gordon is a bit below average on both ends at this stage of his career. And now, with Booker and Beal both out, we’ve bounced back to 226.

The Lakers opening night wasn’t very encouraging. I’ve never been a big fan of D’Angelo Russell, but I forgot just how much he can kill the momentum of an offensive possession. Surprisingly, he had some solid defensive possessions, but the Lakers won’t win meaningful games with Russell in the starting five and playing significant minutes (he played 36 against Denver).

Anthony Davis didn’t seem interested in the responsibility of being the best player on the Lakers. LeBron James, as incredible as he remains, is just too old and has too many miles on him to carry the offense for more than a few minutes at a time and Austin Reaves — despite what the NBA world wants us to believe — just isn’t good enough to bear that kind of offensive load.

Defensively, the Lakers looked about as solid as they were last season. They ranked 12th in Defensive Rating (113.2) in 2022-’23, but had the third-best defense after the trade deadline.

Suns vs Lakers Picks, Odds

Editor’s note: As of Thursday afternoon, both Booker and Beal have been ruled out.

There are a few ways I’m approaching this game from a betting perspective, but primarily I’m fading both of these offenses and leaning into the lack of long-range shooting. Last season, post-trade deadline, the Lakers were 25th in 3-point rate (32.2%), according to Cleaning the Glass, and the Suns weren’t much better at 22nd (32.6%). Even with efficient offense, these teams will struggle to reach 220 if they continue to shoot from inside the arc at the rate they have so far.

Even if the Suns decide to shoot more from deep in Booker’s absence, the Lakers defend the 3-point line better than almost anyone in the league, ranking fourth in opponent 3-point percentage post-deadline (33.8%). Pace could be a concern, but I’ll take the risk and back the under down to 220.

Pick: Under 226 | Play to 224