- The Los Angeles Lakers are favored over the Phoenix Suns, despite being the seventh seed.
- The Lakers finished lower than expected due to injury troubles during the season.
- They seem to be verging on fully healthy now, and the sportsbooks give them -165 odds to win the series.
LAS VEGAS - After a Lebron James three pointer put them into the playoffs for good, the Los Angeles Lakers are set to face their first test in the form of the Phoenix Suns.
This matchup was a possible one entering the year, but many would have expected it to be the other way around - the Lakers as the second seed, the Suns as the seventh.
The Suns vastly exceeded expectations over the course of the season thanks to stellar contributions from Chris Paul and Devin Booker.
The Lakers, meanwhile, underperformed, not due to effort or bad play, but because LeBron James and Anthony Davis found themselves injured during much of the season.
Now, the Lakers don’t have homecourt advantage in the playoffs, but it’s unclear how much that will matter - they might be back to full strength.
The reigning champions of the NBA have their sights set on Phoenix, and the online sportsbooks think they can take the Suns down.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns Series Winner
- Los Angeles Lakers -165
- Phoenix Suns +145
With -165 odds to take the win in the series, the Lakers are the rare seventh seed favored over a second seed.
Since the first round went to a best-of-seven format, only one seventh seed has upset a second seed in the first round.
That happened in 2010, when the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Dallas Mavericks - although there were some extenuating circumstances.
The Spurs only finished five games behind the Mavericks due to the stacked Western Conference, while the Lakers finished nine games behind the Suns in a shortened season.
Still, the extenuating circumstances that would justify a Laker victory in this matchup are obvious - Lebron James and Anthony Davis are back, and the Lakers are elite when they play.
The first game in this series kicks off at 3:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, May 23, and will be broadcast on ABC.
Online sports betting fans won’t want to miss this one - a chance at a once in a decade upset, even if it’s what the sportsbooks expect to happen.