Pick Suns ATS vs. Clippers for Tonight's NBA Betting

Jason Lake

Saturday, November 15, 2014 2:13 PM UTC

Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014 2:13 PM UTC

The Los Angeles Clippers haven’t beaten the NBA odds once this season. At least they’ll be fresh as daisies for Saturday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, who are coming off a tough loss in the desert.

Jason’s record as of Nov. 14: 6-5 ATS

Profit: plus-2.9 units

There’s no need to panic yet. The Los Angeles Clippers are well on their way to winning their third straight NBA Pacific Division title, and more importantly, fulfilling their destiny as one of our Top 5 OVER picks for 2014-15. We didn’t say anything about beating the NBA odds on a daily basis. That’s something the Clippers (4-3 SU, 0-7 ATS) have yet to do once this season.

The job doesn’t get any easier on Saturday when the Phoenix Suns (5-4 SU, 4-4-1 ATS) visit The Stapler. Phoenix is a great up-and-coming team, the most profitable team in the league last year at 48-34 SU and 52-29-1 ATS. But the Clippers may have caught the Suns at just the right time: The visitors are coming off a somewhat frustrating 103-95 loss to the Charlotte Hornets (+6.5 away) on Friday night. L.A. hasn’t played since Monday.


Minus Force
It seems very strange to say, but Clippers fans have gotten spoiled. They’ve been treated to some very fine basketball ever since Chris Paul (plus-5.7 BPM this year) came over from New Orleans in late 2011. He’s still one of the very best players in the NBA, but as usual, Blake Griffin is getting all the MVP attention. Except he’s not playing like an MVP. Griffin has a minus-0.6 Box Plus/Minus after seven games, and his PER has dropped from 23.9 last year to 19.9 this year. That’s marginal All-Star, not MVP.

You wouldn’t know it, though, if all you looked at were scoring. On a per game basis, Griffin is at a career-high 24.3 points, as he continues to extend his range to the 3-point line and occasionally beyond. But Griffin’s field-goal rate has dropped to 47.1 percent along the way, and he’s rebounding less (6.7 per 36 minutes) as well. This is no longer a 20-10 player we’re dealing with here.

The Clippers also aren’t getting plus value from any regulars outside of DeAndre Jordan (plus-4.2 BPM) – and his minutes have to be managed at the end of games because of his awful foul shooting (42.6 percent lifetime). L.A. is still a decent No. 12 in offensive efficiency at 104.7 points scored per 100 possessions, but the Clippers are giving up the same amount of points, which leaves them No. 21 in defensive efficiency. They were No. 7 last year.


PHO Is Good Food
The Suns, meanwhile, were No. 15 on offense (103.8) and No. 13 on defense (102.4) going into Friday’s loss to Charlotte. Even with that result, Phoenix is ahead of L.A. in point differential at plus-0.3 per game to minus-1.0. And you can imagine how much we like using the Simple Rating System at Pro Basketball Reference; once again, the Suns are ahead, plus-2.61 to plus-1.19. That suggests the Clippers should be much smaller favorites at home on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET).

We’re not thrilled about those extra days Los Angeles has had to rest up and get prepared for this game. But fading the Clippers is a pretty easy decision to make. While the Suns might not beat the NBA odds as often as they did last year, they’re still a “regional” team at this point. None of their players was voted to the All-Star team last year – although Goran Dragic (plus-3.6 BPM) deserved to be. The Suns are trying out a new starting rotation this year, so there might be some more growing pains, but for your NBA picks tonight we’re happy to bet on them in this situation.


The Five Stars
Depth/Travel/Rest: LAC
Defense: PHO
Coaching: LAC
Market Bias: PHO
Betting Line Value: PHO

Verdict: 1-star pick on PHO

Free NBA Pick: Bet 1.4 units on the Suns +7 (–105) at The Greek

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