Suns vs. Lakers NBA Preview and Best Bet

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Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

Wracked by COVID-19, the Los Angeles Lakers will have a hard time beating the Phoenix Suns and the NBA odds this Tuesday.

Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Tuesday, December 21, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at Staples Center

Have I mentioned lately that the Los Angeles Lakers are an instant-fade when LeBron James is playing? I think it’s come up once or twice here at the ranch. We were at it again last Friday, putting the Minnesota Timberwolves in our NBA picks; the lines for this game bounced back and forth a little, but the Wolves were 1-point home faves at the close, and they won 110-92. Splendid.

Miraculously, the Lakers covered their next game, losing 115-100 to the Chicago Bulls (–7 at home) on Sunday. That puts our fallen heroes at… let’s see, carry the one… 11-8 SU and 6-13 ATS with King James in uniform – which will presumably be the case Tuesday night when the Phoenix Suns come to town. The Suns are 6.5-point favorites on the NBA odds board at Heritage Sports as we go to press. Let’s do this.

IT Department

Before we get all festive on LA, let’s take a moment to breathe, and remember that people are coming on and off the COVID-19 list faster than the internet can keep up. As I write this, the Lakers (16-15 SU, 12-19 ATS) have six players in protocol, along with head coach Frank Vogel and assistant Phil Handy. Anthony Davis and Kendrick Nunn are also on the shelf with knee injuries – they won’t be around Tuesday, but who knows about the others.

Bring on the replacements! Isaiah Thomas was signed from the G-League and started in Chicago. Chaundee Brown Jr., undrafted out of Michigan last year, made his NBA debut against Minnesota. At least Trevor Ariza is back in action, coming off the bench and doing some good work against the Bulls. Otherwise, this is about as thin a supporting cast as LeBron has seen since his first tour of duty with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Is the betting public paying attention? Probably not.


Meanwhile, the Suns (24-5 SU, 16-13 ATS) have most of their ducks in a row now that Devin Booker is back in action. Booker missed seven games with a hamstring injury, then returned Sunday and helped Phoenix destroy the Charlotte Hornets 137-106 as 8-point home faves.

That’s three straight SU and ATS for the Suns. They’re doing all right.

It’s almost mind-boggling that Phoenix is only favored by 6.5 at the top-rated sportsbooks. They were 2-point road dogs on the NBA lines when they last played the Lakers on October 22, with both teams at close to full health; the Suns took that one 115-105.

Are the combined efforts of Davis (plus-2.4 BPM at Basketball Reference), Dwight Howard (plus-0.2 BPM), and the other absentees not worth at least 8.5 points to Los Angeles, compared to their fill-ins? You be the judge, once the morning shoot-around happens and the lineups become a bit less hazy.

NBA Pick: Suns –6.5 (–108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Suns –6.5 (–108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.