Phoenix Suns @ Dallas Mavericks -5.5 (Total: 183)
Dallas has been as good as anyone in the league, excluding their sluggish 1-4 start to the season. Lamar Odom seems to have snapped out of his post-LA malaise, and surprisingly, even without Tyson Chandler, the Mavs have been one of the Top Ten defenses in the NBA.
Phoenix, on the other hand, has hovered slightly below .500, but in truth is stuck in that awkward land between competitive and ‘bad enough to get a good draft pick to rebuild around.’ It is quite likely that the allure of playing with a 37-year old Steve Nash is no longer strong enough to get a marquee free agent to commit to the desert… so what does Phoenix do?
Exactly what they have so far this season; play competitively some nights, poorly on others, and just sort of float in the lower middle of the league for a few years. So what about that recipe sounds like a team that only needs 5.5 points to cover on the road against the defending champs??
Dallas is 16-5-1 in their last 22 home games against the spread, and in this matchup, the favorite has won and covered 12 of the past 15 games. It means, that as good as this rivalry has been at times, the team that is supposed to win generally does with some room to spare. It also means, that given the perception of the rivalry, the line was often a little too narrow. Just like tonight.
Dallas is 6-2 at home, against Phoenix’s 3-5 mark on the road. Perhaps most importantly, Dallas has won 9 of the last 10 meetings between these two teams, regardless of the location of the game. Everything about this game screams Dallas – which is why I like to dig into some numbers. However, in this case, the numbers just amplify the screaming. Give me Dallas laying the slim five and half points.
Free Pick: Dallas Mavericks -5.5