Suns vs. Lakers NBA Playoffs Game 3 Preview and Best Bet

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns attempts a shot over Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns attempts a shot over Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

Thursday’s Game 3 between the Phoenix Suns and L.A. Lakers is a golden opportunity to put a 2-team parlay in your NBA picks.


Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Thursday, May 27, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at STAPLES Center

Technically speaking, there’s only one player on the injured list for Thursday’s game between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers: Abdel Nader, a competent but rarely-used guard in the Suns rotation. However, you don’t need your name on the list to be injured. Pivotal players from both teams will be playing hurt in Game 3 of this Western Conference quarterfinal.

We can profit from their pain. The classic underdog-Under parlay looks like a slam-dunk on the NBA odds board, where SBK have Phoenix getting seven points at press time with a total of 210.5. Or, if you’re worried about looking too sharp, you could make either or both of these single bets and use that to help push your props through. Let’s take a closer look at these wounded warriors heading into this very important Game 3.


The Hurt Locker

The Lakers evened this series Tuesday night with a 109-102 victory over Phoenix, cashing in as 2-point road faves, and they just barely made it past the closing total of 210.5. Whether you got paid or not for the over/under depended on which online sportsbook you used, and when. It was still an ugly game, made uglier by the injured superstars on the floor: LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (calf) for Los Angeles, and Chris Paul (shoulder) for the Suns.

It wasn’t their poor play that made the first two games of these series so brutal – although Davis did perform better in Game 2, leading the way with 34 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists while marching to the free throw line. This Lakers-Suns matchup was always going to be a methodical, defensive series – a slobberknocker, if you will. But the added physical limitations placed on these three All-Stars, especially Paul, have made this a war of attrition rather than a work of art.


Slow And Steady

This leveling effect benefits Phoenix the most. They were 2-point home dogs in the first two games despite owning the No. 2 seed in the West; bettors naturally assumed the No. 7 Lakers would be superior now that James, Davis and all their players are off the injured list. But the fewer opportunities James and Davis have to work their magic, the harder it will be for them to beat the NBA lines.

Phoenix already make that happen naturally by running one of the slowest offenses in the league. They finished the regular season tied for No. 26 out of the 30 teams at 99.3 possessions per game; L.A. tied for 16th place at 100.8 possessions. Combine those parameters with all the gimpy players on both clubs – it isn’t just the superstars – and you get even more value for your NBA picks with Phoenix and the Under.


Pick: Suns +7 (–108), Under 210.5 (–111) at SBK

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