January 31, 2016 (2:38 AM ET)
Today's pick is a below average 2% wager.
That's because while there is value in it, there isn't as much as in most SPS selections.
Take Phoenix Suns at +10.5 spread against Dallas Mavericks for 2% of the bankroll.
The Suns are a team in disarray and one that we've wisely stayed away from but much like the lowly 76ers, as proven yesterday, there can be value backing them at the right price (spread) and situation. The fact that they're currently not only on a losing streak but one that has seen them get blown out and embarrassed on a frequent basis can't sit well with proud veterans like Tyson Chandler and PJ Tucker! No NBA team likes to be dominated night after night and their poor previous efforts sets them up nicely for a bounce-back performance tonight. To drop all 4 games of a road trip is one thing, to lose them all by double-digits is another, and less likely! The Suns have a big rebuilding process ahead of them but they're still capable of keeping this game within single digits.
The Mavericks are a team that plays up and down to the level of its competition and while they're regularly beaten poor teams such as Phoenix, they've hardly done it convincingly. They know this isn't the college world where there is a committee to impress. Wins and losses are all that count for professional teams like Mark Cuban's franchise and whether they get the W by 7 of 17 matters little to them. At times, a squad will want to make a statement or has 'revenge' in mind or has as nationally-televised game that they'll 'get up' for but often the only goal is to walk out as winners without suffering injuries and rightly so. The Mavs have not scored a single blowout victory (15+ points) this season! That's because even when they have had big leads such as 18 points or so, they've ended up letting the other team back in. That is precisely what happened when the Suns last visited Dallas. This Mavs squad is among the NBA leaders when it comes to playing closely contested games! It wouldn't surprise us if this turned into another one.
The Phoenix Suns have revenge in mind. That's because this is the 3rd and final meeting between the two sides this season and the team from Arizona has dropped both of the previous contests! To make matters worse, they've lost them both by double-digits which means the betting public is expecting an 'easy winner' with the Mavs tonight! "Sure-fire cover right?" Not necessarily. Jeff Hornacek's group is the more desperate team in this matchup, not only to avenge those previous losses but to at least put up a fight and make the final score more respectable! They're also the ones that need to bounce out of their current slump, all motivating factors which means they may lose but should at least make this a close one.
Rick Carlisle's squad, on the other hand, is coming off a double-digit victory and is satisfied with itself. They won't have the same urgency and hunger that the Suns may display and while that will still likely translate into a win, they're unlikely to cover this big spread. What makes matters more difficult for the Mavericks is that they have a tougher game on deck in Atlanta tomorrow night to keep in mind. It's natural for players and coaching staff alike to start preparing for the next game if they mount a comfortable lead. That's when starters are pulled and fringe players get court time and that's often when opposing team sneaks in through the backdoor and gets the cover despite losing. An important fact to remember is that the Mavericks are 0-11 ATS since Nov 2012 after a home win in which they got less than 10% of their points from free-throws!
Archie Goodwin and Devin Booker have started a lot of games in the back-court for Phoenix recently and by now have developed a good understanding of each other's tendencies. It was always going to be a struggle for the two youngsters at the beginning, having to fill in for Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight! Nonetheless, Booker who only made his NBA debut earlier this season is quite comfortable in the starting lineup by now while Goodwin has learned the importance of not turning the ball over. The two will have their hands full tonight but they have a much better chance of keeping the Suns competitive than they did a couple of weeks ago when they severely lacked confidence and experience at this level. The Suns do have some young hungry talent as well as some veteran presence and leadership and can still put up a good fight on certain nights. The fact that Tyson Chandler was let go of by the Mavs in the off-season as they attempted to lure DeAndre Jordan in, hurt him and he's admitted as much! He and teammates will not want to simply roll over for a conference foe that's already beaten them twice soundly! Look for Phoenix to keep the final score more respectable than most people anticipate.
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