The knockout round of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament continues this evening, with LeBron James and the Lakers hosting Kevin Durant and the Suns for the nightcap of the TNT doubleheader (10 p.m. ET, TNT). Both these teams have 12 wins on the season, with L.A. flaunting an 8-2 home record and Phoenix a respectable 7-3 on the road. Today, we will break down this Western Conference clash from a betting standpoint, unveiling our prediction as well as our best moneyline, spread, and over/under bets.
Here’s the low-down: the In-Season Tournament has reached Day 2 of the quarterfinal round, with just six teams remaining in the inaugural IST bracket. After the Pacers and Pelicans advanced last night, we have two games tonight to decide who plays in the semifinals on Thursday (basically the NBA version of the Final Four). Then, the two teams still standing at the end of the night on Thursday will face off Saturday evening to determine the first-ever In-Season Tournament champions.
Whether you liked the idea initially, you probably love the tourney by now if you’re a true hoops fan. The action has been intense, with playoff-like atmospheres just weeks into the season. This evening’s late game should be no different, with LeBron and Anthony Davis looking to hold court against familiar foes KD and Devin Booker in what should be an instant classic.
Will Los Angeles stay hot at home and make its second semifinals round in less than six months, or will Phoenix rise up and pull off the road upset to punch its ticket to Las Vegas? Let’s get to our best bets for the Lakers-Suns’ NBA In-Season Tournament Quarterfinals matchups on Tuesday evening!
NBA In-Season Tournament best bets: Lakers vs. Suns
- Spread: Lakers -1 (-110) | Suns +1 (-110)
- Moneyline: Lakers -115 | Suns -105
- Over/Under: O 229 (-110) | U 229 (-110)
Oddsmakers have basically listed this game as a pick ’em, giving Los Angeles an implied win probability of just 53.5 percent. Who can blame them? The Suns have their two best players suiting up in the contest. Over the 16 regular-season contests that KD and Booker have played as teammates, Phoenix has maintained an incredible 14-2 record (when one or both has missed time since KD landed in the Valley, the Suns have gone 11-17).
Phoenix has also fared quite well on the road (7-3), although the Lakers have been even more dominant at home (8-2). L.A. has taken each of its past four contests with the Suns, including two games at Footprint Center earlier this season. However, it has yet to face off against the Suns with both Durant and Booker. KD missed both meetings with L.A. last season, and Book missed both during this campaign.
LeBron will be looking to go 3-0 against KD this season and 23-15 against his superstar rival since Durant entered the league as a Seattle SuperSonic in 2007-08. It should be noted, however, that Bron has gone 17-6 against KD in the regular season, but KD has gone 9-5 against Bron in the playoffs. Could Durant get his 10th big win over his fellow MVP counterpart?
Nah, we can’t bring ourselves to fade LeBron in the quarterfinals of the first-ever In-Season Tournament. Winning the NBA Cup would be yet another big boost to King James’s career legacy, which carries 100 times more meaning to the modern GOAT than the half-million dollars of prize money.
We’ve seen LBJ and AD kick it into extra gear in big games over the past 10 months, in the 2023 postseason push, the playoffs, and now in the In-Season tourney. Don’t be surprised if the veteran duo leaves it all on the floor and imposes its will down low from the opening tip to the final whistle. LeBron remains the most unstoppable downhill scorer in the Association, while Davis has averaged 22.9 points, 12.5 rebounds (second-most in the NBA), and 2.8 blocks (first). He has low-key played some of the best ball of his career during this calendar year.
We like sheer brute strength and physicality to push the Lakers over the top in this one. L.A. ranks in the top six in the NBA in field goal percentage (48.7%), defensive rebounds (35.9 per game), free throws and free-throw attempts (19.7-of-25.6), and blocks (6 per game). Darvin Ham’s squad also just got Rui Hachimura back from his nasal fracture (albeit in a mask), so that should help the Lakers around the hoop on both ends of the floor.
Los Angeles gunned for big wins in the In-Season Tournament in order to draw the home matchup in this spot, and we don’t expect the home team to squander the opportunity to advance this evening. With floor-spacers Bradley Beal and Eric Gordon both out for Phoenix, Suns coach Frank Vogel might be asking too much of KD and Book on the perimeter and Nurkic and Drew Eubanks down low. Go with LeBron and the Lakers to once again win a big one on the big (and bright) stage.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Lakers 118, Suns 114 — The Suns win and cover (-1) to advance to the semifinals in Las Vegas, while the game just barely hits the OVER (229).
Source : ESPN.com