Lakers-Suns Game 6 Odds, Props: LeBron Favored To Force Game 7
LeBron James has not been eliminated from the playoffs without reaching the NBA Finals since 2010. He is a perfect 14-0 in the first round of the playoffs.
So the top sportsbooks are watching closely after the white-hot Phoenix Suns pushed James and the reeling Lakers to the precipice of elimination with a 115-85 annihilation in Game 5 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series on Tuesday.
The Suns lead the best-of-seven series 3-2. Game 6 and the potential demise of the 2021 Lakers occurs Thursday (10:30 p.m., TNT) at Staples Center.
|Moneyline||Lakers -150; Suns +125|
|To Win Series||Lakers +250; Suns -290|
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Lakers vs. Suns Top Props To Back
This game offers some good opportunity for the daring - namely those willing to go against history. If you’re willing to focus on the here and now of this series, there are a few props being offered at the top sports betting sites that might be worth your time and money.
LeBron James Under 30.5 Points (-125, DraftKings)
Sure, James averages more than 33 points in potential-elimination games. But in this series, he has been hobbled by both his persistent ankle woes and the Suns’ swarming defense. Phoenix has shown it does not fear attacking James, and it will be up to James to get more aggressive. He has not scored more than 25 points in the first five games, and the Lakers were an atrocious -24 with him on the floor in Game 5.
LeBron’s total has already fallen from 31.5 to 30.5 at DraftKings. It usually sits above 35 most nights. James was held to 24 the other night without Anthony Davis. Any offensive contributions by Davis in Game 6 will come at LeBron’s expense on the score sheet. Oddsmakers are adjusting to LeBron’s new reality. The question remains if bettors will follow.
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Jae Crowder Over 9.5 Points (-106, Unibet)
Crowder has been averaging 10.2 points during this series, but has gone over this total just once. He is, however, playing serious minutes each night. He is a defense-first veteran who is not intimidated by facing the likes of James in a potential clincher. Nor is he afraid to shoot if and when he has the ability to do so.
The Suns were an eye-popping +30 with Crowder on the floor in Game 5. He’s been here before and has demonstrated the ability score key points when needed in his most-important games. His total is 9.5 at Unibet. Back the over.
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Chris Paul Under 14.5 Points (-108, FOX Bet)
Paul is expected to be playing despite the shoulder hit he absorbed in Game 5. Still, Paul’s assignment in this game is to contain James, not score points. Cameron Payne has become the second option for the Suns – after Devin Booker. Payne is playing 25.8 minutes and scoring 15.8 points per game in the series.
Paul offers a stabilizing veteran presence and will be the best playmaker on the floor when he has the ball. He’ll happily set the table for Booker and Payne, and take the “W” - no matter how many or few points he scores. His total is a generous 14.5 at FOX Bet. Take the under.
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Nagging Injuries Hampering Lakers
To save their season, the Lakers must take two in a row from Phoenix, which won the Pacific Division and finished second in the Western Conference behind the Utah Jazz as injuries nagged James and Lakers down the stretch.
A lingering high-ankle sprain has clearly affected James’ aggression with the ball and his willingness and/or ability to drive to the basket. In Game 5, James barely attacked and never once took the ball to the basket. His play was so passive he didn’t even get to the free-throw line. So much for the refs and the NBA being all-in on Team LeBron. It’s hard to give someone calls when there isn’t even contact.
Without Davis in the lineup, James was limited to 24 points, 18 of which came from 3-point land. Davis sat after suffering a groin injury in Game 4. Davis’ status for Game 6 remains unclear, as is the type of contribution he could be expected to make if fit to play.
James bailed on the Lakers in Game 5 with 5:40 to play and his team down 105-73. Before Game 5, James had never lost consecutive games in a first-round series. Without Davis as an open option, James was smothered and simply did not fight back. The Suns went on a 16-0 run early in Game 5 and were never troubled.
Suns Never Stopped After 8-0 Bubble Run
The second-seeded Suns have been one of the more positive storylines in the NBA this year – especially for those who paid attention to what went on in the Bubble last summer. Phoenix went 8-0 in Orlando but failed to make the playoffs. The Suns roared into the 2021 season with a strong core built around veteran Paul, who was acquired in the offseason.
Monty Williams, meanwhile, earned Coach of the Year honors for his efforts. Phoenix outlasted both the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers to win the Pacific Division, despite being as long as +1200 at times with NBA betting sites.
Paul appeared to re-injure his shoulder after being fouled late in Game 5. It isn’t known if he’ll be at full-strength for Game 6. Paul said after the game he expects to play Thursday. Cameron Payne scored 16 points for the Suns, slicing through the Lakers’ frontcourt as he hit seven of his 11 shots.
Devin Booker has been a supernova for the Suns in the first round, scoring 30 or more points in three games, including 30 on 13-for-23 shooting in Game 5. In NBA futures markets, Phoenix remains a healthy +1000 in NBA title odds and +500 to capture the West.
Both of those prices reflect strong value given the Suns’ solid play in the first round. The Lakers are +1000 to win their NBA-record 18th championship, according to oddsmakers at William Hill, and +475 to capture the Western Conference at the same sportsbook.
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LeBron vs. Father Time
James, who at 36 is playing in his 19th season, built his brand by winning - usually with one or more “superstar” teammates. He took his talents to South Beach a decade ago and won back-to-back titles with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
He delivered that long-awaited championship to “Believeland” in 2016, with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Those Cavaliers erased a 3-1 deficit in the Finals. Winning two in a row to close out a first-round playoff series - even with Game 7 on the road - would barely register a blip on James’ career highlight page.
Finally, last year with Davis, James and the Lakers mowed down the competition inside the Bubble. That title was never really in doubt. Now, doubt has teamed with Father Time to push James to what would be the earliest playoff exit of his career.
James averages 33.7 points in his postseason elimination games - the most in NBA history. Of course, having to perform so well in so many potential elimination games is a problem the likes of Michael Jordan never had. This time, James will most likely have to deliver all by himself.