Welcome to the Wednesday, 10/24/18 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one game for tonight I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager that we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Season to Date:
ATS Picks: 2-3 (.400)
ATS Leans: 2-0 (1.000)
Wednesday’s NBA Betting Pick:
Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns
Over/Under Total: 237.5
The new-look Lakers have been short on wins (and defense) but long on offense thus far in the young season. Los Angeles comes into Wednesday’s road matchup against the Suns having scored between 115 and 142 points in each of their three games. However, they’ve also yielded no fewer than 124 and as many as 143. The latter number came during a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Spurs at home on Monday evening.
The Suns have been nowhere near as prolific on the scoreboard. That said, they’ve been slightly better than Los Angeles on defense. Phoenix held a Mavericks team that’s gone on to score 140 and 115 points in two subsequent games to 100 points in the opener. Then, the Suns yielded 119 and 123 points to the Nuggets and Warriors over the next pair of contests.
The home squad is improved with the addition of first overall pick DeAndre Ayton down low. Yet they are struggling to get any meaningful offensive contributions beyond those from the rookie and Devin Booker. Veteran offseason additions Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson are shooting just 35.5 percent and 26.3 percent, respectively. T.J. Warren has been effective off the bench, but another key second-unit component, Josh Jackson, is averaging just 7.7 points on 39.1 percent shooting.
Meanwhile, despite their record and current suspensions to Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo, the Lakers boast plenty of firepower. Their depth was on display in Monday’s loss to the Spurs. Los Angeles had the luxury of plugging in de facto starters Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, who combined for 51 points. Both players also enjoyed solid success versus the Suns last season:
- Kyle Kuzma: 18.0 points (on 47.4 percent shooting), 5.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists (two games)
- Lonzo Ball: 14.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 2.7 steals (three games)
And unsurprisingly, the Suns had no answer for the guy who’ll be the best player on the court Wednesday (all due respect to Booker). LeBron James averaged 27.5 points (on 60.0 percent shooting), 10.0 assists, 9.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and 1.5 blocks across just 31.0 minutes in two games versus Phoenix last season.
Los Angeles boasts a 49.3 percent success rate from the field over their first three games. That dovetails well with the bottom-10 figure in opponent shooting percentage (.483) that the Suns are surrendering. The Lakers also have the potential to run a Phoenix first unit with two over-30 members ragged. LA is playing at the fastest pace in the NBA (115.3 possessions per game) while the Suns are operating at the slowest (102.1).
By the Numbers: The Lakers were 22-19-0 (53.0 percent) against the spread as a road team last season, including 3-1 (75.0 percent) versus the number as a road favorite. Los Angeles was 9-7 (56.2 percent) against the spread in division games last season as well.
The Suns were 14-26-1 (35.0 percent) versus the spread at home last season, failing to cover by an average of 5.1 points. That includes a 13-24 (35.0) mark versus the number as a home underdog. Two of their three losses to the Lakers last season were also by more than three points. Phoenix was 5-11 (31.2 percent) against the number in division games last season.
The Final Word: All public comments preaching patience aside, make no mistake: LeBron is not happy with an 0-3 record. This Lakers team has no shortage of offensive talent. Even with Ball and Kuzma entering the starting five, the likes of Josh Hart (17.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 2.3 steals, 1.0 block) and Lance Stephenson are still available off the bench to keep the scoreboard humming when the starters need a breather. The Suns have their share of talent, but this is the spot where Los Angeles finally makes its first splash of the LeBron era.
The Pick: Lakers -2.5, Lakers moneyline (-156)