The banged-up Los Angeles Lakers want to take a commanding lead Sunday when they host the Phoenix Suns in Game 4 of their Western Conference playoff series. After a lackluster performance in Game 1, the Lakers have looked more like the team that won the NBA title last season in winning the past two. Anthony Davis scored 34 points despite injuring his knee in the first half Thursday night and a hobbled LeBron James scored 21 and had 10 assists as the seventh-seeded Lakers won 109-95 in Game 3. Chris Paul is having injury issues of his own for the second-seeded Suns, but Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton are combining for more than 49 points against Los Angeles' elite defense.
Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. ET at the Staples Center. Los Angeles is favored by 6.5-points in the latest Lakers vs. Suns odds at William Hill Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is set at 209.5. Before making any Suns vs. Lakers picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned over $9,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. The model is up almost $800 on its top-rated picks this season and entered the first full week of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on a stunning 99-66 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread dating back to last season. Anybody who has followed it has seen massive returns.
- Suns vs. Lakers: Los Angeles -6.5
- Suns vs. Lakers over-under: 209.5 points
- Suns vs. Lakers money line: Phoenix +235, Los Angeles -275
- PHO: Phoenix is 15-7 against the spread in games following a loss this season.
- LAL: Los Angeles is 14-23 against the spread at Staples Center this season.
Why the Lakers can cover
Los Angeles had one of the league's best defenses in the regular season, and that has continued in the playoffs. The Suns are averaging 98.7 points against the Lakers, who allowed 106.8 to rank second in the NBA. The Lakers also are holding the Suns to 45.2 shooting from the field and 33.7 from 3-point range, while out-rebounding Phoenix by 3.4. James is getting two steals per game as Los Angeles averages 9.7 (second-most in playoffs), and Davis is blocking 2.3 shots. The Lakers are 13-10-1 against the spread in the playoffs since James signed in 2018.
The offense also is tough to stop with James and Davis working together. Davis has scored 68 points in the past two games, and when he is dominating, James gets more room to run the offense. The four-time NBA champion is averaging 20.7 points and 9.3 assists, and he is showing more willingness to drive aggressively on the high ankle sprain that has hampered him for two months. Both players are gutting it out, and they combined for 28 points in the third quarter in Game 3, even after Davis hyperextended his knee and was visibly hampered.
Why the Suns can cover
Phoenix was one of the best road teams in the NBA during the regular season, and the Suns ranked seventh in the league in both scoring offense and defense. The Suns won 24 of their 36 games away from home and went 6-3 against the spread as a road underdog. They scored 115.3 points and allowed 109.5, and opponents shot 35.4 percent from 3-point range (fifth). Phoenix has held the Lakers to 44.2 percent shooting overall, and just 27.6 from beyond the arc.
Paul is having a sluggish series as he nurses a bruised shoulder, but he tied for third in the NBA at 8.9 assists, and the 35-year-old knows the clock is winding down for him to win his first NBA title. The Suns ranked fourth with 26.8 assists per game in the regular season, while turning the ball over just 12.7 times (fourth). Booker is the leading scorer at 28 per game, while Ayton is scoring 21.7.
How to make Suns vs. Lakers picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 212 points. The model also says one side of the spread has all the value. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Suns vs. Lakers? And which side of the spread has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks.