Phoenix Suns the NBA Pick to Rise in New Orleans

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, December 30, 2014 7:24 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014 7:24 PM UTC

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Tuesday.


The hot road team gets our call as a small underdog Tuesday night when those Phoenix Suns (18-14, 11-7 away) pay a visit to the New Orleans Pelicans (15-15, 9-4 home) at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA at 8:05 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Arizona.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Phoenix as a tiny road underdog for this contest with the current line at +1½ with odds of -105.

Hot on Road Too
The Suns were perhaps the biggest surprises in the NBA while winning 48 games last season, earning Jeff Hornacek some Coach of the Year consideration as he finished second in the voting behind Gregg Popovich, and after a bit of a slow start this year the Suns are heating up again (pun intended) as they are currently on a six-game winning streak with five of those wins coming on the road, most recently over the Lakers in Los Angeles 116-107 on Sunday.

In fact Phoenix is now 11-7 on the road compared to just 7-7 at home, but that home mark is almost certain to improve with the Suns’ improved play as of late.

The Pelicans are in last place in the brutal Southwest Division, but they are easily the best last-place team in all of basketball while playing in a division where every team was over .500 until New Orleans was the losing NBA pick to the Bulls in Chicago on Saturday 107-100 to drop to exactly .500 at 15-15. Still, the Pelicans are only two games out of the eighth spot in the West.

Deep Backcourt the Key
The Suns already had two scoring point guards last season in Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, so some eyebrows were raised when Phoenix added another one during the off-season in Isaiah Thomas while still holding on to the other two. Yet, not only has that threesome been able to co-exist, but it has actually prospered with the trio combining to average 48.0 points per game while also being the three leading scorers on the team!

The three guards combined for 61 points in the win over the Lakers with Bledsoe adding eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals and Thomas adding three rebounds, four assists and three steals. That dynamic backcourt has the Suns fifth in the NBA in scoring with 105.7 points per game and Phoenix has averaged 111.5 points during the six-game winning streak including scoring at least 115 points in the last three wins.

That is not to say that the frontcourt has not contributed either with the Morris twins Markieff and Marcus combining for 24.8 points per game.

Davis for MVP
The Suns may have the decided edge in the backcourt here, but the Pelicans have a league MVP candidate in the frontcourt in Anthony Davis, who has simply been a beast on both ends of the court averaging 24.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and shooting 56.6 percent offensively while also averaging 3.0 blocks and 1.7 steals defensively.

Thus if the Pelicans do finish last but make up the two games to finish eighth in the conference, they could become the first last-place team in any professional sport to both make the playoffs and have the league MVP!

With that being said, the New Orleans supporting cast has not always been there and the result is the 15-15 record despite Davis doing his best to carry the team on his own. In fact the Pelicans have been a middle-of-the-road team on both ends statistically, ranking 15th in points scored with 101.6 per game and 16th in field goal percentage at 45.7 percent offensively, as well as 22nd in points against at 102.0 per game and 26th in field goal percentage allowed at 47.0 percent.

Suns Swept Four Meetings Last Season
Finally, this is the first meeting between these clubs this year but the Suns have dominated the recent head-to-head series, as they swept the four meetings between the teams last season including a pair of six-point wins down here on the Bayou.

Look for that head-to-head success for Phoenix to continue with a mild upset on the road in New Orleans on Tuesday.

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NBA Pick: Suns +1½ (-105)

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