Suns Will Shine in Philly in Monday Night Matchup

Swinging Johnson

Sunday, November 18, 2018 4:55 PM UTC

Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 4:55 PM UTC

The Suns are mired in misery after a 3-12 start but will try to turn it around in Philadelphia with their No. 1 overall pick in the draft Deandre Ayton battling another young, talented, big man in Joel Embiid.

Phoenix (3-12 SU, 6-9 ATS) at Philadelphia (11-7 SU, 8-10 ATS)Monday, 7:05 p.m. ET (NBA TV)Free NBA Pick: Suns ATSBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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The Suns may be struggling mightily but management can take solace in the fact that their No. 1 overall pick in the draft, Deandre Ayton, appears to be the real deal. There’s nothing more devastating for a franchise, mired in the muck the past several years, than to get it wrong when you’ve got an entire pool of talented players at your disposal to get it right. Ayton is averaging 16.3 points per game, 10.5 rebounds, and a player efficiency rating of 19.98 which puts him in some pretty good company with the likes of Eric Bledose, Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, and Karl-Anthony Towns.

However, one man does not a basketball team make and the Suns know this first hand as evidenced by the following: 22nd in points allowed, 29th in rebounds, and dead last in points per game. In their last contest, the NBA odds board hung them as five-point home underdogs to the Oklahoma City Thunder but even that head start was not enough to get the cover for those who backed them in their NBA picks, as they fell 110-100 on Saturday night.

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.@BenSimmons25 drops a half-court dime to @JimmyButler for the jam!@StateFarm | #HereTheyCome pic.twitter.com/9Mf1plG8T2

— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) November 18, 2018
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Phoenix is hoping that in a few short years their burgeoning superstar will blossom into something resembling Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid. Although not a first-overall pick in the draft, Embiid, chosen third, has proven to be the best pick of the 2014 litter as he is the only member of that class to be selected to an All-Star game and is averaging 27.7 PPG, 12.9 rebounds, and a player efficiency rating of 25.48 which ranks him 13th in the league in that category. In his last performance Embiid bucketed 33 points with 11 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal in Saturday's 122-119 overtime win over Charlotte. The newly arrived Jimmy Butler sunk the three-point dagger at the buzzer that sealed the victory.

The knee-jerk reaction is to pick the better team and if there was no such thing as a point spread to level the playing field, and the odds were EV, then there wouldn’t be much of a conversation. But the Suns and Sixers both have pedestrian-at-best defenses and while Philadelphia enjoys a big rebounding edge, I am looking to Phoenix’s young stud Ayton to rise to the occasion and take the glass challenge personally as he attempts to stack up to one of the best in the business, Embiid. Let’s also not forget that Philadelphia could be a bit gassed after Saturday night’s overtime win in Charlotte and then having to pack up and go home. Below are a few trends to bolster my contention:

  • Suns are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS loss.
  • Suns are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. Eastern Conference.
  • 76ers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
  • 76ers are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.

Expect the line to be grossly inflated as the public will look at this mismatch and salivate at the prospect of a 76ers blowout. Let’s not forget the last time these teams met in Philadelphia, the oddsmakers were dealing the Sixers as 10-point home chalk but it was the Suns that stunned and dribbled out with a 115-101 victory back in December. Let’s grab the big number and back a lousy team that will be taken for granted by a Philadelphia squad looking ahead to a Wednesday night meeting with arguably the best player in the league, Anthony Davis, and his New Orleans Pelicans. Grab the points and back Phoenix at 5Dimes.

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