Betting Value Found On Suns +9.5 For Your NBA Picks vs. Celtics

Jason Lake

Saturday, March 26, 2016 4:34 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 26, 2016 4:34 PM UTC

The Phoenix Suns are coming off an embarrassing loss in Sacramento. They're not going to be a popular NBA pick when they host the Boston Celtics Saturday night.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of March 25: 29-35-1 ATS, 6-3-1 Total

It can't be easy being the Phoenix Suns these days. They're good enough to beat the very worst teams in the NBA, but that's about it; on Friday, the Suns got creamed 116-94 by the Sacramento Kings (–7.5 at home), leaving them 20-52 SU and a league-worst 29-43 ATS. No postseason for these guys. That's six years in a row now for the Suns.

In theory, the Boston Celtics (42-30 SU, 39-32-1 ATS) could still miss the playoffs in the Eastern Conference if they're not careful. They're 5.5 games ahead of ninth place with 10 games left to go in the regular season. Shouldn't be a problem, but we don't anticipate the C's taking Saturday's game (10:00 p.m. ET) against the Suns too lightly. Boston is an 8.5-point road chalk on the NBA odds board as we go to press.


So Sick
The last time we checked in on the Celtics, they were taking advantage of the Toronto Raptors (+3.5 away), who sat Kyle Lowry in a 91-79 Boston victory. That was back on Wednesday; the Celtics have been idle since, while Phoenix will be playing on zero days of rest. However, SG Avery Bradley (13.2 PER, +0.2 BPM) came down with an illness and didn't travel with the team to Arizona. He's questionable to play Saturday.

Bradley's a somewhat useful player, but he probably doesn't move the needle enough for us to throw out the following hoop nerd projections:

FiveThirtyEight (CARM-Elo): Boston –7.5
Basketball-Reference (SRS): Boston –6.51

Close enough for government work. Though it bears mentioning that Phoenix center Tyson Chandler (13.8 PER, –1.3 BPM) missed Friday's game with back spasms and is also considered questionable for Saturday. And of course, the Suns have been without PG Eric Bledsoe (20.3 PER, +2.8 BPM) since the holidays after he tore up his knee. Tough gig.


Pudding Time
If we call it a wash with the questionable players, it seems Boston might not be a terribly good NBA pick at these prices. The C's do have the benefit of rest, but the CARM-Elo projection already takes that into account. Not that we're treating these numbers as gospel, of course. They just support the concept that Phoenix might have some betting value as an overlooked and downtrodden commodity in the desert.

Then again, the proof is in the pudding. Back in January, we saw Boston thump Phoenix 117-103 as 9-point home faves. But that was when SF Jae Crowder (16.1 PER, +3.0 BPM) was healthy for the Cs, and PF Markieff Morris (10.9 PER, –4.0 BPM) was still an unwilling member of the Suns. So we're going to give Phoenix our very tepid endorsement here at the ranch; keep the bet size small, and may the sphere be with you.

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NBA Pick: Suns +9.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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