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 Friday.
The defending NBA Champions could again be short-handed Friday night, but this time in enemy territory when those San Antonio Spurs (1-0, 0-0 away) pay a visit to the Phoenix Suns (1-0, 1-0 home) at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, AZ at 10:05 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Arizona.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Phoenix as a tiny underdog for this contest with the current line at +1½ with odds of -108.
Age is Only a Number
People have been waiting for age to catch up to the Spurs for years, but their veteran trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili looked as fresh as ever during their championship run because San Antonio has one of the best coaches ever in Gregg Popovich that was expert at managing everyone’s minutes during the long, grueling season. Of course that was made easier by the Spurs having the deepest bench in the NBA with the ability to go 10-deep.
The Suns were perhaps the biggest NBA pick surprise in the league last season, as they were an awful 25-57 two years ago and most experts did not expect much improvement. Instead Phoenix went 48-34 and was not eliminated from playoff contention until the final days of the season and Coach Jeff Hornacek finished second behind Popovich for NBA Coach of the Year honors.
Depth Could be Tested
Unfortunately for the Spurs, their aforementioned terrific depth is being tested right now, although they did gut out a non-covering 101-100 win over the Dallas Mavericks on opening night despite playing without NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills. That was at home though while riding the adrenaline of a ceremonious crowd on a night that began with the raising of the championship banner.
San Antonio may not have as easy a time if it is short-handed again in Phoenix, and that indeed looks like it will be the case. The good news is that Leonard is expected to be recovered from his case of pink-eye in time to suit up. The bad news is that Mills will be out until around February after tearing is rotator cuff and Splitter is doubtful with a calf injury. On top of that, Ginobili suffered a thigh injury in the opener so he may not be at full strength if he plays.
Besides going on the road, the Spurs are facing a young, energetic team that loves to run the floor here, so this is probably one game where that famous Spurs’ depth is needed more than usual and they just may not have it.
Picked Up Where They Left Off?
The Suns finished seventh in the NBA in scoring with 105.2 points per game last season with that average jumping to a whopping 108.1 points here in Arizona, and they were also eighth in the league in Pace Rating. Well, Phoenix dominated the Lakers 119-99 here in their season opener, and while the Spurs obviously figure to post a stiffer challenge, we are not so sure San Antonio will appreciate this expected track meet while down some key players.
Furthermore the Suns could potentially be more potent this year after signing yet another shooting guard during the off-season in Isaiah Thomas, joining Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, and Thomas had an excellent Phoenix debut scoring 23 points while coming off the bench in the easy win over the Lakers. The Suns also inserted the Morris twins Marcus and Markieff into the starting lineup together and the result was 119 points on 54.9 percent shooting!
All five Phoenix starters scored in double-digits in addition to Thomas off the bench, and the scoring was well distributed with Thomas actually leading the way with his 23.
Easy Suns Home Win Last Time
The last time these teams got together here in the desert, the Suns were able to do their thing in the running department and came away with the 106-85 victory on 51.2 percent shooting back in February, and Phoenix was a 1½-point underdog that evening just like tonight.
Look for basically a carbon copy here with Phoenix improving to 2-0 at home this young season on Friday.
NBA Pick: Suns +1½ (-108)