PHOENIX SUNS

Lakers are heavy favorites over Suns with historic opening odds

May 20, 2021, 7:47 AM | Updated: 5:24 pm
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball as Draymond Green #23 and Stephen Curr...
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball as Draymond Green #23 and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors defend during the first half of an NBA Tournament Play-In game at Staples Center on May 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers strained themselves to win a Wednesday play-in game against the Golden State Warriors, giving them the seventh seed and first-round matchup with the No. 2 Phoenix Suns.

But oddsmakers don’t see that as a worrying sign.

Los Angeles (-300) opens the first-round series as a favorite over Phoenix (+240), and with that comes historical implications.

It’s the first time in at least 30 years that a No. 2 seed has been billed as the underdog against a No. 7 seed, according to ESPN Stats & Info, which is using Caesars William Hill lines.

Odds for Game 1 of the series, which will take place at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Phoenix Suns Arena, are a point in favor of the Lakers, per BetMGM.

Injuries to key players on each side could shift the lines as we get closer to the opening game.

For the Suns, starting center Deandre Ayton (sore knee) and reserve wing Cam Johnson (wrist) are expected to play but sat out toward the end of the year to mend their respective injuries.

On the Lakers’ side, LeBron James lacked explosion and struggled to finish at the rim Wednesday against Golden State as he deals with a high ankle sprain suffered two months ago.

He still put up 22 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds while hitting a game-clinching three to beat the Warriors 103-100 and earn the No. 7 seed.

James, Anthony Davis (calf/heel) and Dennis Schroder (missed time due to COVID-19 protocols) continue to find their legs after missing time toward the end of the season.

Davis played 42 minutes against Golden State and after a rough first half got a rhythm to finish with 25 points and 12 rebounds.

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