The Lakers’ surprising 2023 season continues as they look to take a 2-0 lead against the Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals. The Lakers are 6-point underdogs in Game 2, but they have defied the odds all postseason and could do it again if Anthony Davis maintains his level of play from the series opener. One thing for certain is that the series is going to be exciting, and that’s great news for sports bettors. If that’s you, check out what we consider the best player props and first basket scorer bets for Thursday’s game.
Warriors vs. Lakers First Basket Scorers + More Game 2 Props
Golden State dominated from the three-point line on Tuesday night and still fell short. That should be concerning for fans, especially considering three players hit at least six three-pointers in the game. That level of production across the board is hard to duplicate. If the Warriors are to have a chance, finding a way to slow down Davis should be top priority.
How successful they are at doing that may ultimately determine who wins the series. Fans will learn tonight whether Steve Kerr can find the answer for the Warriors’ defense, which sets up a variety of interesting prop bets.
First Basket Scorer Prop Odds for Warriors vs. Lakers Game 2
LeBron James and Klay Thompson top the odds boards at the best sports betting apps to score the first bucket Thursday night.
This one is tough to call, but we’re leaning Thompson for this wager. Kevon Looney’s and Anthony Davis’ opening tip win percentage is tied at 56%. However, the Warriors strike first 56% of the time compared to the Lakers’ first basket percentage of 51%. When the Warriors do strike first, Thompson finds the bottom of the net 30% of the time for Golden State – the highest among his teammates.
After Davis’ dominating Game 1 performance, the Warriors are sure to adjust and give him their full attention from the jump ball, so it may take some time for him to get going. As for the Warriors, Thompson made his presence felt early and often, even though he didn’t score the first basket of the game. He also has a favorable matchup with Austin Reaves defending him. Despite Reaves’ effort, he isn’t equipped to slow Thompson. That’s a good reason Golden State may look to exploit the matchup early, which bodes well for Thompson’s odds to cover this wager.
Best Player Prop Bets for Warriors vs. Lakers Game 2
Both teams had a game plan in the opening game, and they stuck to it. The Lakers’ plan helped secure them a victory. If they want to steal another win on the road, they’ll need better performances from the supporting cast.
The Warriors switched to a zone late in the fourth, and it presented enough challenges for Los Angeles to spark a 14-0 run to tie the game with a little over a minute left to play.
If the adjustment is used from the opening tip, Davis is going to need his teammates to hit shots to make things a little easier for him.
D’Angelo Russell to Score Over 20 points (+220 on FanDuel)
Russell is riding a hot streak for Los Angeles. In his last two, he put up 31- and 19-point performances. He shot the ball just below 20 times in each of the last two, and considering the expected adjustments Golden State will make to defend Davis, he should get just as much if not more in this one. Outside of Davis and James, he is the only other player on the Lakers who can create his own shot consistently.
Although Thompson is one of the league’s better defenders, Darvin Ham has helped generate great looks from him by using the pick-and-roll to get him better matchups. Fortunately for the Lakers, he has been capitalizing. Given his scoring output as of late, look for Los Angeles to rely on him more as things get more challenging for Davis.
Austin Reaves to Score Over 15 Points (-120 on FanDuel)
Reaves chipped in only 10 points in the last matchup, but with Davis as hot as he was, there weren’t many attempts left over for him. He is another Laker who must step up to keep Game 2 close, as the Warriors look to adjust to Davis. Reaves has answered the bell when needed during the current postseason run for LA. With a potential significant increase in attempts on the horizon for a 40% three-point shooter, this isn’t a bad wager to consider.
Kevon Looney to Grab Over 15 Rebounds (+120 on DraftKings)
Looney is on one of the most dominant rebounding stretches in recent history. In four of his last six outings, he has grabbed at least 20 boards. Even with Davis not pressing up on the three-point line for the bulk of Game 1 to stay in rebounding position, Looney was still able to rack up 23 rebounds. The decision not to show aggressively on Golden State’s high screen and rolls almost led to the Lakers blowing a 14-point lead with five minutes left to play.
Davis won’t be able to cheat back as much as he did last game, which only makes things easier for Looney. Given Looney’s recent performances, 15 rebounds at +120 feels like a steal.
Anthony Davis to Grab Over 17 Rebounds (+220 on DraftKings)
The Lakers made it clear in Game 1 that they were addressing Looney’s dominating rebounding performances by doing everything in their power to keep Davis in rebounding position. Although it hurt them significantly defensively, Davis was able to get enough rebounds when it mattered. Looney still grabbed 23 boards in the game, seven of which were offensive. Considering how impactful Looney was still able to be on the glass, Davis and company may only make slight adjustments to hinder the quality of the Warriors’ looks from deep.
Keeping their big man in rebounding position will remain a top priority for the Lakers. Instead of completely overhauling the game plan, the Lakers may look to show on the high screen and roll in spurts to keep the Warriors guessing as opposed to walking into wide-open looks all game. This is probably the most likely scenario given the Warriors connected on 21 three-point attempts in Game 1 on almost 40% and still lost the contest.