Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns play host to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers this evening. See what lines the sportsbook odds makers have on tap for us tonight, as we try to cash with a pick on this game's spread.

5* graded Free NBA pick on the Los Angeles Lakers as they take on the Phoenix Suns set to start at 8:00 PM ET. In past years, this would have been a marquee matchup, but these two Western conference powers have fallen upon more difficult times and neither are leading their division and only one is playoff bound. Still, the matchups will provide for a very entertaining game with two former league MVP’s in Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash going head-to-head again.

The is the second game in a home-and-home series where the Lakers soundly defeated the Suns 111-99 and covered the right point spread at Staples Arena. The final score, though is not indicative how dominant the Lakers were for 40 minutes of this game where at one point they enjoyed a 20-point lead.

The Phoenix Suns are just 12-19 and 5-8 in home games this season. They are in fourth place in the Pacific division of the Western Conference trailing the Los Angeles Clippers by eight games. The Lakers are building momentum and are at 18-12 for the season and trail the Clippers by just 1.5 games.

Team Rankings and Matchups

Kobe BryantThe Phoenix Suns were once an NBA offensive juggernaut in recent seasons, but now are an offense that is easily defended and one that struggles to execute in the half-court set. Under new head coach Mike Brown, the Lakers are assembly a strong defensive minded team that currently ranks fourth in the NBA allowing 90.7 points per game. 

The Lakers rank 22nd in the NBA in scoring offense averaging just 93.1 points per game, 30th averaging just 7.7 fast break points per game, 16th averaging 39,4 points in the paint, 15th  averaging 20.9 assists per game, and 13th posting a 1.393 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Lakers don’t need to press on offense given the tremendous size and length advantages they have with Bynum and Gasol in the paint.

The best part of Phoenix’ defense is that they rank fifth in the NBA allowing 11.1 fast break points per game. They rank 17th allowing 40.1 points in the paint and the Lakers game plan will be to get the ball to Bynum and Gasol in the paint often.

Lakers Rebounding

The Lakers recent winning ways have been well supported by strong fundamental rebounding. They rank second in the NBA averaging 54.3 boards per game. Broken down, they rank first in the NBA getting 33.8 defensive boards per game and 13th getting 11.8 offensive boards per game. This reflects the defense first scheme that is taking shape on the Lakers team. This also makes it very difficult for a struggling Suns offense knowing that they will have very few second chance scoring opportunities.

Simulator Projections

My proprietary sports betting database and simulator show a high probability that the Lakers will win this game by four or more points. Phoenix is just not in a good spot to enact revenge in this second of a home-and-home series. Suns are just 7-25 ATS when playing with double revenge having two straight losses to the current opponent over the last two seasons; 2-13 ATS revenging a road loss to opponent of 10 points or more over the last two seasons.

Supporting System

Supporting this graded play is a system that has produced a record of 52-18 for 74% winning NBA picks 2006. Play on road favorites after going over the total by 18 or more points total in their last three games and winning between 51% and 60% of their games on the season.

Handicapper Steven Suarez has posted his pick in favor of the over in his 'NBA Picks of the Day' article. While he makes a good case, I am going to take the Lakers and lay the points.

NBA Pick: Lakers -2.5