Pro Basketball Betting -- Key players are eclipsed as Suns visit Lakers

  • In Charles Jay
  • Thu, Oct 26th, 2023 4:39:22 pm
  • By Charles Jay - Exclusive to OSGA

The Phoenix Suns go after a 2-0 start as they visit the Los Angeles Lakers on the NBA schedule for Thursday, but they'll be short-handed.

The Los Angeles Lakers were certainly disappointed in their performance against the Denver Nuggets in the season opener. Now they have an opportunity to redeem themselves as they play host to a Phoenix Suns team that is depleted somewhat. BetOnline patrons can see it at 10:05 PM ET from the Arena.

The Lakers obviously disappointed their backers in the 119-107 loss against Denver. LeBron James had 21 points and eight rebounds and also sported a +7 plus-minus number. But Anthony Davis had an awful time, shooting just 6-of-17 with a minus-17 figure.

Really, however, it was a woeful defensive effort, particularly for a team that ranked 11th in Defensive Rating last season. The Nuggets shot 52.7% from the field, and Nikola Jokic fashioned himself a triple-double (29 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists). More has been expected of these Lakers, who lost to Denver in the West finals last year. And Darvin Ham may find himself on the coaching "hot seat" with more efforts like that.

Phoenix had to fight hard to beat back Golden State 108-104 in their opener. Along the way, they had to withstand a 40-point third quarter from the Warriors. Devin Booker had a huge game, with 32 points and eight assists. Center Jusuf Nurkic has 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Mortgage mogul Matt Ishbia, a former player at Michigan State, shook things up after he bought the franchise less than a year ago. He quickly engineered a trade to acquire Kevin Durant, and eventually fired coach Monty Williams, replacing him with Frank Vogel, who won the championship in he bubble with the Lakers.

His big move in the off-season was the trade for Bradley Beal, one of the most formidable scorers in the NBA. He joined Durant and Booker in what is, in effect, Phoenix's version of the "Big Three."

But don't look for them on Thursday night. We'll explain in a moment.

In the pro basketball betting odds that have been posted on this game by the people at BetOnline, the Lakers are the favorites at home:

Los Angeles Lakers -6
Phoenix Suns +6

Over 226.5 points -110
Under 226.5 points -110

And you'll want to take a look at what Prop Builder has available, as they offer hundreds of additional wagering possibilities!

The other side of the coin in these transactions that landed Durant and Beal is that in the process of giving up assets, the Suns took a hit in the "depth" department. And Thursday's situation exposes this. The Suns will be playing without Booker, who has a foot injury, and Beal, whose back problems have kept him out for the last nine days.

With the departure of Chris Paul, Booker is the closest thing the Suns have to a point guard. Granted, he has a long way to go in that area, with six turnovers against Golden State. But they definitely want the ball in his hands as much as possible.

Durant has talked about a "next man up" philosophy, which seems almost obligatory nowadays when injuries are discussed. But there aren't that many next men to choose from. The ageless Eric Gordon is also on board, but can he carry a heavier burden?

The Lakers have actually added a number of people who may turn out very useful when all is said and done. Taurean Prince got a start the other night, and there is also the presence of Cam Reddish, the athletic Jaxson Hayes, Christian Wood, and Gabe Vincent, who was a key figure in the Miami rotation as the Heat drive to last season's finals.

These guys might greatly enhance what the Lakers are doing. And they could supply enough of a second unit advantage to help them carry this number. Lay it.

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