Tonight the Phoenix Suns will try and garner the attention of those working the NBA odds playing back home against a smokin’ hot opponent: the Memphis Grizzlies.
Phoenix (28-21, 25-22-1 ATS) was coming off a 5-2 homestand and went to face Golden State who was coming off a pair of losses. The Suns were smashed 106-87, leaving them with three losses in their past five contests, with New Orleans and Oklahoma City pursing them for the eight playoff position.
The Suns are a growing home underdog in NBA odds; do they have what it takes to knock off Memphis tonight?
Phoenix has been Play Against Team of Late
Though the Suns had an extended stay in the desert and improved their record, NBA basketball handicappers and those placing sports picks at sportsbooks have picked up on the negative vibe.
Coach Jeff Hornacek’s club is just 1-5 ATS in recent contests and 3-8-1 ATS since Jan. 7th. There is little doubt about the Suns thinking offense first which has over the past several seasons helped them enjoy winning records.
Nevertheless, anyone making daily NBA picks understands you have to play defense and Phoenix ranks 28th in points allowed at 104.9 per game and they are the only team among the bottom seven in this category to have a winning record.
The Suns are somewhat better in field goal percentage defense (45.4) and defensive efficiency (1.035), ranking 20th in each sector, but unless Hornacek can convince this current roster to give equal effort on both sides of the floor, at least against the betting, Phoenix will continue to flounder.
Memphis has Been Downright Defensive in Latest Winning Streak
Several times this season there has been plenty of talk about the new and improved Memphis offense which has them scoring more points than the last few seasons with new concepts which caused them to sacrifice a little defense to play a bit faster to create better shots.
In recent games, the Grizzlies (35-12, 25-21-1 ATS) have shown they still can play “strangling the breeze” (Rob Zombie reference) with their defense.
Memphis is on a 10-1 spurt and actually gained ground on Golden State for the best record in the West and has won six straight. In those half dozen matchups, they have held opposing teams to 82.6 points a game, bringing back thoughts of the Pat Riley Knicks, where their physical defense was more reminiscent of an MMA fight.
In this stretch, four different Memphis foes have not managed to shoot better than 38.3 percent, showcasing how suffocating their defense has been.
The Grizz will need more of the same in downtown Phoenix, but if the past is a precursor to the future, you have to like their chances.
Betting Odds and Head to Head
Memphis opened as a one-point point road favorite and quicker than the life being taken out of Seattle Seahawks fans with Russell Wilson’s interception, the Grizzles were jettisoned to -3 with a total 204.
Beside how Zach Randolph and the guys are playing, Memphis is 6-0 SU and ATS against Phoenix and has won and covered four in a row on their floor.
After this evening, Memphis will be at Utah and at Minnesota in the coming days before a huge home matchup with Atlanta this coming Sunday. The Grizz is 9-2 and 5-6 ATS as road favorites and 16-10-1 ATS with exactly one day off.
Phoenix will not play again until Thursday at Portland and come right back home the next night to face Utah. The Suns lost by 20 just over a week ago to the Clippers in their lone home underdog role of the season and they are 16-12 and 15-12-1 ATS with a day between games.
I’ve always been a big believer in backing teams which know how to defeat others until proven otherwise. That is what attracts me to Memphis and that is further supported with the knowledge home underdogs scoring 99 or more points like the Suns are 14-44 ATS in February the past four seasons.
Here we find at this point of the season, if a team is a home pooch yet scores at least this many points; they are facing a better club and will fail 75.9 percent of the time.
NBA Basketball Free Pick: Memphis -3 at Bovada