Game 1 of the first-round series between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers was a shocker. Both teams were held under 100 points, and the Lakers’ stars both fell well below their season scoring averages. Chris Paul also went down with a puzzling shoulder injury that forced him to the locker room, and that could affect him in Game 2 on Tuesday. There’s an air of unpredictability ahead of this rematch.
Below is a look at a number of predictions ahead of DAY night’s game for the Free $5K DraftKings Pools - Playoff Edition (PHX-LAL).
Which team will cover the spread? Lakers -1.5 or Suns +1.5
The winning team will almost certainly cover the spread, and the Lakers have a clean bill of health ahead of the second game in the series. Paul’s limitations should make it hard for Phoenix t climb back into the picture. The Lakers should cover and secure a win.
Total points scored? O/U 208.5
There’s too much firepower in this game for the score to be as low as it was in Game 1. The total has gone over in 10 of the Lakers’ last 14 road games against Phoenix. The total has also gone over in nine of the Suns’ last 11 home games. Bounce-back games from LeBron James and Anthony Davis should help this over hit. The duo scored just 31 points on 37.9% shooting last week.
Which team will reach 30 points first? Suns or Lakers
The Suns have one of the better first-quarter scoring margins and have led by an average of 2.5 points after the first frame this year. Home-court advantage should benefit the Suns, who led for all four quarters of Game 1. The Lakers have been slow starters this season, so I expect the Suns to hold the lead through one quarter.
Which team will score the most 3-pointers? Suns or Lakers
Los Angeles and Phoenix struggled from deep in Game 1, but the Suns average more made triples and covert at a higher rate than the Lakers. Three Phoenix starters shoot the long ball at 38% or better, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is the only Lakers’ starter who’s above league average. Phoenix’s 3-and-D specialists should help it edge Los Angeles out.
Who will have most points, rebounds, and assists? Anthony Davis or Deandre Ayton?
Ayton outperformed Davis in Game 1, but Davis is due for a bounce-back game after a horrendous series opener. Having an advantage in points will be big here, and Davis will be the first or second option on offense, while Ayton will likely trail Paul and Booker. Ayton’s total for points, rebounds, and assists is set at 26.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook, while Davis’s is 35.5. The Lakers have their backs against the wall and are sure to play their star power forward as often as possible to avoid falling in an 0-2 hole.
Devin Booker total points: Over/Under 28.5
Booker scored a game-high 34 points in Game 1 but has typically been bottled up against Los Angeles. He averaged just 21 points per game through three matchups against the Lakers during the regular season, and only five teams held him to less than that. The NBA’s top defense shouldn’t be underestimated and is likely to make adjustments to slow down Booker and keep him under 29 points.
LeBron James total points, rebounds, assists: Over/Under 41.5
James almost hit this mark with points alone in his only regular-season matchup against the Suns. He poured in 38 points against Phoenix in that matchup. James usually elevates his game in the playoffs and combined for 35 points, rebounds, and assists despite making just six field goals in Game 1. He’ll definitely be a triple-double threat in Game 2 and should hit the over with an average performance.
Chris Paul total assists: Over/Under 8.5
Paul dished out eight dimes despite the shoulder injury he suffered in Game 1 and could be even more prone to pass while dealing with discomfort in Game 2. He averaged an impressive 11 assists per game through three matchups against the NBA’s best defense during the regular season. I like his odds to build on his performance from last week and hit the over.
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