Free NBA Picks: Heat at Suns Odds
by Alan Matthews - 2/10/2014
I'm not saying it's likely or anything, but why don't you hear much about perhaps LeBron James joining the Suns next season? James is a lock to opt-out of his contract, and most believe he will stay with Miami, especially with the gigantic mess that's going on in Cleveland these days. The Suns might have a compelling case to present to James. They could have as many as four first-round picks in the loaded 2014 draft and will be well under the cap. Phoenix has a nice backcourt of Eric Bledsoe (he'll need to be re-signed this summer) and Goran Dragic, and maybe 2013 first-round pick Alex Len can turn into something. Add James and you might have something. Just throwing it out there.
Tuesday's matchup could definitely a bit of a trap game for Miami. The team has a big one Wednesday night in Golden State and will want to pay the Warriors back after they went into Miami and put up 123 points in a nine-point victory over the Heat on Jan. 2. Plus, that's Miami's final game before the all-star break, so I could easily see the Heat sleepwalking through this one. Certainly motivation won't be a problem for the Suns as this is one of those games you circle on the calendar. It's also Phoenix's final game before the break, so no need to hold anything back.
Heat at Suns Betting Story Lines
Frankly, the Heat got caught sleeping in their last game, a 94-89 loss at Utah on Saturday. LeBron was just 4-for-13 from the field to tie his season low with 13 points. It was only Miami's second loss this season in the 29 games it has held an opponent under triple-digits. Players are usually quite anxious to just get out of Salt Lake City. It's a beautiful place but not exactly bustling with nightlife. James definitely seems to have hit that midseason wall. He's shooting just 26.3 percent from 3-point range to start this month. Last season, James never shot below 37 percent in a month. His 3-point percentage has dropped every month this year.
Phoenix ended a two-game losing streak on Saturday with a 122-109 victory over Golden State. Dragic, who deserves to be an all-star, had a career-high 34 points and said he was ultra-excited to play because his three-month-old son attended a game for the first time. It certainly helped Phoenix's case that the Warriors played without both Andrew Bogut and David Lee. Phoenix easily won the rebounding battle and shot 53.8 percent from the field. The Suns have been without Bledsoe since Dec. 30 yet haven't gone in the tank, thanks in large part to Dragic. Bledsoe doesn't sound close to returning, either. Dragic has had seven straight games with at least 20 points and is shooting 62.7 percent from the field and 63.3 percent from 3-point range in that stretch. He has six 30-point games this season, double what he had in his career entering the year. Phoenix runs as much as any team -- Coach Jeff Hornacek stresses it in practice by using a 14-second shot clock -- and leads the NBA in fast-break points with 18.4 per game and Dragic averages 5.4 fast-break points per game, No. 5 among individual players.
The Suns are still being mentioned as a possible trade partner with the Lakers for Pau Gasol. Phoenix has Emeka Okafor's expiring contract to dangle, but the Lakers want a draft pick too, and that's been a non-starter for now. I can see that deal getting done, however. Still don't believe the Suns can do much more than win one playoff series even with Gasol.
Heat at Suns NBA Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, Miami opened as a four-point favorite with a total of 209.5. The Heat are 21-28 ATS (13-12 on road) and 29-20 "over/under" (14-11 on road). The Suns are 33-16-1 ATS (15-9-1 at home) and 28-21-1 O/U (16-8-1 at home). The Heat are 1-4 ATS in their past five when their opponent allows at least 100 points in its previous game. Phoenix is 5-1 ATS in its past six at home against teams with a winning road record. It is 4-1 ATS in its past five after a win. The under is 4-1 in Miami's past five Tuesday games. The under is 6-1 in the Suns' past seven against teams with a winning record. Miami is 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings in Phoenix.
Free NBA Picks: Heat at Suns Betting Predictions
Miami has won seven straight against Phoenix. Back on Nov. 25 in Miami, the Heat were 12.5-point favorites and won 107-92. Bledsoe missed that one too. James had 35 points and Dwayne Wade 21 (and 12 assists), the only two Heat starters with more than seven. Mario Chalmers sat out for Miami. Dragic was held to 14 but did have nine assists and eight rebounds. A win here would do wonders for Phoenix's confidence level -- it already swept Indiana this season. On pure talent alone this shouldn't be close, but I do believe a lot of intangibles stack up against Miami here. Take the Suns and the over.
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