NBA Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, March 6, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

Thursday, Mar. 6, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay underdog that has a better chance of cashing than its odds, offering long term value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Thursday.

The team with the best record in the Western Conference may not have an easy time as a road favorite Thursday night when those Oklahoma City Thunder (46-15, 20-9 away) pay a visit to the Phoenix Suns (35-25, 21-12 home) at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, AZ at 9:05 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Phoenix as a decided home underdog for this contest with the current line at +6 with odds of -102.

The Thunder have won three straight games to maintain their 1½-game lead over the San Antonio Spurs atop the West, with the pitiful Philadelphia 76ers being their most recent victims 125-92 back in Oklahoma on Tuesday. Now the Thunder have not minded travelling all that much this season with a spiffy 20-9 road record, but that scrimmage in no way prepared them for facing probably the biggest surprises in the NBA this season.

Many experts projected the Suns to finish with one of the worst records in the entire league prior to this season, and yet here they are sitting at 10 games over .500 and currently tied for the seventh seed in the tough Western Conference, although Phoenix has just a one-game lead over the ninth seeded Memphis Grizzlies and is thus one game from being out of the playoffs.

That probably makes this a much bigger game for the Suns than it is for Oklahoma City, especially with Phoenix coming off of a 104-98 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday. The Suns now get a second straight chance to make a statement over an elite Western Conference team, so not only can they use the confidence boost in beating one the second time around, but doing so would also help Phoenix maintain its playoff position.

That is not to say that the Suns have not had any big wins this year, as they have already swept both meetings with the team with the best record in the NBA, the Indiana Pacers out of the Eastern Conference, and the Suns are now actually at 11-11 straight up vs. teams currently ranked in the Sagarin Top 10! However, they would now love to add a win over Kevin Durant and the Thunder to their resume.

You see, these teams have met just once and that was way back on November 3rd with the Suns falling short but covering the number in a gritty 103-96 loss at Oklahoma City. Most people did not expect that game to be a precursor for the season, but Phoenix has surpassed even the wildest or expectations by ranking sixth in the league in scoring, eighth in overall field goal percentage and ninth in three-point shooting, and Jeff Hornacek certainly merits Coach of the Year votes.

Now the Thunder are obviously threats to win the NBA Championship, especially now that Durant’s sidekick Russell Westbrook appears to be back to full health after posting a triple-double in just 20 minutes of action vs. the 76ers. Still, this is not really a very important game for the Thunder in the whole scheme of things while the Suns will be extra hungry, and desire counts for a lot during the long grind that is the NBA season.

Besides Oklahoma City knows that it is in fine shape regardless of what happens tonight as it has a seemingly easy game with the Los Angeles Lakers up next followed by a three-game home stand.

All things considered, while there in no question that the Thunder are the better team, look for an inspired effort from Phoenix as it gets the cover and quite possibly an outright upset on Thursday.

[gameodds]5/257533/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Suns +6 (-102)

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