The second-seeded Phoenix Suns have all of the bulletin-board material they could need heading into their first-round playoff series versus the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Less than 24 hours after the Lakers inched by the Golden State Warriors in Wednesday’s play-in tournament matchup, BetOnline.ag listed the Lakers as the favorites to advance at -148. Despite finishing the regular season at 51-21, the Suns head into Thursday night as +128 underdogs.
It takes little time to understand these valuations. After all, the Lakers have superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the charge, and the Suns, simply put, don’t. In fact, BetOnline still has the Lakers (+375) behind only the Brooklyn Nets (+200) among favorites to win the NBA Finals.
Bettors clearly aren’t worried about James or Davis, who both missed considerable time during the campaign because of injury setbacks.
“At the end of the day, we just need to be playing our best basketball. Wherever we fell is where we fell in the standings,” Lakers guard Wesley Matthews said, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “But we have a job to do every single night. We don’t view ourselves as a seventh seed.”