April 12th 2014 - Posted at 5:00 PM Eastern Time
Sunday's picks will be posted at 5:00 PM ET.
Some can find the line at -4 while others will have it at -4.5 spread. The latter are recommended to buy half a point for extra insurance.
Take Dallas Mavericks at -4 spread (buy half a point) against Phoenix Suns risking 2%
This is arguably the most important games tonight as the winner will basically punch their tickets into the Western Conference playoffs! Currently, the Mavericks, the Suns and Grizzlies are all vying for just 2 remaining playoff spots so for the Mavericks, who only have 2 games remaining, it's basically win or be done. If they do win this game, they will clinch playoffs as they will own the tie-breaker against the Suns since the series is currenty tied at 1-1 even though both previous games were played in Phoenix.
There are a number of factors heading into this matchup that points to an edge for the Dallas Mavericks. First off, Dallas comes into this game rested. They had last night off and should come into this game focused on the task at hand. Meanwhile the Suns will be coming in on the second half of a back-to-back after playing in San Antonio against the Spurs last night. Fatigue may be a factor late in the game as they gave absolutely everything they had last night and yet still fell short.
The Suns may also come into this game deflated after their loss last night! Phoenix dominated the Spurs and beat them up and down the court for the first 24 mins of the game. They had a 21 point lead at some point and were on their way to another blowout victory against the #1 team in the league! The second half however was a different story as the Spurs made adjustments and mounted an impressive comeback to win by 8! For the Suns to give up such a huge lead has to be mentally draining and frurstrating. The Suns did everything they could to hold onto that lead but it was to no avail. We wouldn't be surprised to see them come out a bit flat tonight as the way they lost that game had to be demoralizing.
The Mavericks are no strangers to getting beat by the Spurs themselves having just played them on Thursday night. The difference being that the Mavericks actually held their own in that game holding Spurs to 43% shooting from the field. San Antonio just got hot from behind the 3 point line connecting on an unchracteristic 16 of 34! Dallas however is a veteran team that learns from its mistakes, makes adjustments and bounces back strong in their next game. They are not a team that typically loses two games in a row. It also helps that the Suns play a similar style of basketball to San Antonio in some ways and we feel that the Mavericks will have taken what they learned from their loss against the Spurs and apply it to this matchup. Like San Antonio the Suns like to shoot the 3-ball and Dallas knows that they are going to have to protect the perimeter much better tonight.
Home court advantage should be huge in this game as the crowd will no doubt be loud and rowdy in support of their team. We expect the Mavericks to feed off of that energy in what is their final home game of the season! The Dallas offense can score in bunches and we expect them to use the crowd energy to help them on the defensive side and to get the Suns out of rhythm tonight.
Phoenix has been a great story this season. they have far surpassed expectations but they are still step below being a playoff team. That final step has to do with experience. Dallas has been on the cusp for a number of years and knows exactly what it takes to get the job done when the season is on the line. Phoenix is young and talented but also a streaky team with lots of emotional players. They also still have 2 more games to go after with a big game against the 3rd team vying for a spot in the Memphis Grizzlies. This however is Dallas' playoff game, they need it the most and can clinch post-season with a win! They only have one game left after this and that comes in 4 days so tonight will be their sole focus. We expect this to be a back and forth game but the Mavs should do enough down to get the win and cover. Rick Carlisle is the more experienced coach and knows how to prepare for this. Goran Dragic will likely play but won't be 100% tonight.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Suns have lost 12 of their last 15 games against Dallas!
- Dallas is 8-4 SU & ATS (against-the-spread) following an upset loss as a favorite!
- Dallas is 10-1 in its last 11 games when playing at home against Phoenix.
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