Oklahoma City Thunder -3.5 @ Phoenix Suns (Total: 207.5)
Very quietly, not many teams in the NBA have been playing better basketball than the Phoenix Suns since the All-Star break. The Suns, who have only two players who were starters before arriving in Phoenix, and both of them are over 37 years old, were originally left for dead but have edged back into a tie for 8th place in the West. It makes every game from here on out an absolute must-win for them, and the schedule makers haven’t done them any favors. They host OKC tonight, and still have dates with Chicago and Miami before the season’s conclusion.
Oklahoma City on the other hand has had a really difficult go of things the last three weeks. Once considered easily the best team in the West, they have gone just 5-5 over their last ten games and are in real danger of relinquishing the top seed in the West to San Antonio (who didn’t do so well with it last year… but that’s another column for another day.)
Oklahoma City is leaps and bounds more talented than Phoenix, but I am still inclined to lean towards the hotter team with a ton more to play for on their home court, especially when they are getting a few points as well. Phoenix is a fat 13-3 ATS in their past 16 games, and has looked good during that run, earning wins most nights in addition to just covers. Even with the lines starting to creep closer as they’ve earned some late respect, they have still continued to cover the spread.
These two teams have split their last 10 games ATS, each taking five, and each covering equally on the home and road. It’s been a pretty even matchup there without a ton of advantage to interpret from the head to head results.
My favorite start that points me in Phoenix’s direction tonight is the fact that they are 5-1 in their last six home games in which they were the underdog. That means, even when they are hosting a better opponent, they’ve gotten the job done in their own building. The Suns are a solid 18-11 at home this season. Oklahoma City has a good road record, but many of their wins were early. Recently, they’ve been having some struggles, losing three of their last five road games and five of ten overall.
Give me the ageless Suns and their eleven assist-averaging point guard Steve Nash to steal an enormously important home win against the favored Thunder tonight.
Free Pick: Phoenix Suns +3.5