Oddsmakers aren't ready to give up on the Los Angeles Lakers quite yet.
The Lakers, who lost by 30 points on Tuesday night to the Phoenix Suns, are in some trouble. Anyone who watched them in Game 5 saw that. LeBron James said he's preparing to play Game 6 on Thursday without injured Anthony Davis, which seemed like self-motivation, but it's a sign Davis is no sure thing to return.
And yet despite all of that, the odds on the Lakers don't indicate a desperate situation.
Oddsmakers haven't given up on Lakers
The Lakers are 3-point favorites in Game 6 at BetMGM, which is a bit hard to believe after what we saw in Game 5. If Davis is back, that line makes sense. He was a game-time decision on Tuesday.
If Davis is still out, we need to see a much, much different Lakers team for them to keep the series alive. Game 5 was never close. James played pretty well but got little help. The Suns are a deep team and that is a big edge against a depleted Lakers squad.
The Suns are now -350 favorites to win the series (a bettor needs to bet $350 to win $100), and the Lakers are +260. Yet, the Lakers are +450 to win the Western Conference while the Suns are +550. The Lakers are +1000 to win a championship, the sixth-best odds and also better than the Suns.
That doesn't make a ton of sense, but the Lakers are a popular team and oddsmakers are not giving out a huge number on the Lakers winning it all when they're at their lowest point.
Lakers' outlook has changed
A week ago, the Lakers looked like they'd get an easy path to the West title. The Los Angeles Clippers were down 0-2 in their series. The Utah Jazz lost Game 1 to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Lakers were coming off a nice win in Game 2, and then they won Game 3 by 14 points last Thursday. There were many questions about Chris Paul's shoulder injury. It just seemed like the defending champs were going to cruise past the Suns.
Paul did aggravate his shoulder injury in Game 5 and maybe that changes the series. But Phoenix, which was 51-21 and is the No. 2 seed in the West, has proven a lot in its three wins this series. The Suns are a good team. They weren't getting enough respect before the playoffs started.
James has never lost in the first round of the playoffs. He's 14-0. James and the Lakers will need to win two in a row to keep that streak alive. A lot of futures tickets depend on it too.
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