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Phoenix Suns Betting by Jeremy Martin
The Phoenix Suns have been one of the biggest public betting teams this season. This squad came out of nowhere to exhilarate fans and bettors with their high scoring offense and their big blowout victories. A current five-game losing streak, however, probably has scared off a lot of bettors. This team was building up steam as one of the top public betting teams in the league. It seems that, for now, the bandwagon may be emptying quickly.
The public, referred to as 'squares' by the bookies, typically love teams that win big with explosive offensive attacks. The Suns definitely fall into this category as they have put up more than 107 points per game on average this season. They are also in the top five in three-point accuracy and field goal percentage. Despite their recent troubles, the Suns are still among the top teams in the NBA with a .775 winning percentage (31-9). They are actually ½ game behind the Spurs, who they play Friday in Phoenix, for the best record in the league.
The public bettors who have been behind the Suns thus far this season have probably made a nice profit up until the current losing streak. The team is 22-18 against the spread this season and they were an astounding 22-13 before they dropped their last five against the number. The public also loves to bet the Suns 'over' for NBA totals. Phoenix has gone over the posted total 24 times in 40 games (their last four, however, have gone under).
Las Vegas bookmakers have had some nice wins against the betting public during the Suns' recent slide. According to Doug Beil, race and sportsbook manager for Terrible's Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas, the public jumped on Phoenix early on in the season at his book and they have been on the Suns and the 'over.' every night without fail. At his book the Suns had replaced the Lakers as the biggest public team in the NBA. It will be interesting to see to what extent the public will back off of the Suns now that they have dropped five straight.
While bettors at Terrible's have been relentless in their support of the Suns, other Las Vegas sports books have not seen quite as much action on the team this season. At the Las Vegas Hilton, sports book head honcho Jay Kornegay said, in an interview before the Suns recent losing streak, that the public has had a "slow developing relationship" with the Suns and his book hasn't lost too much to the public Suns bettors this season.
Rob Gillespie, president of Bodog, said that the Suns have been one of a handful of public teams this season in the NBA. The Miami Heat, he said, is the team that the public cannot get enough of at his shop. Nevada books probably have the Suns locked in as a public team more than the Internet books because of their close proximity to Arizona. Gillespie said, "Phoenix isn't even on the radar of the Eastern Conference cities, and that is where a lot of the (betting) population is."
But no matter where the book is located, one fact cannot be denied -- a lot of people have been betting on the Suns and winning this season. This has caused oddsmakers to keep adjusting on the team. When a team keeps winning big, oddsmakers must be careful not to overadjust the number.
"We are adjusting to Tom, Dick and Harry and all of the sudden some 'wise guy' comes in and he is getting the better of the deal," said Kornegay. "(Now) he's got a really solid number."
Professional bettors likely did very well by going against the Suns during their recent disastrous road trip. They were 8 ½ point favorites in their first game of the swing against Utah and they lost by eight. Their next game saw them as 6 ½ point favorites in Indiana and they lost by 18 In the Suns next two games they were in an unlikely position as dogs against Washington and Detroit, respectively. They lost both games by a total of 19 points. They were once again favorites last night at home against Memphis and once again failed to cover the number.
Was this losing streak an indication that the Suns are not that good? This is the question that is on the minds of many public NBA bettors. The Suns have been without one of the main cogs in their offense, point guard Steve Nash, who left the Nov. 14 game against Indiana early with a bruised thigh. He also had a freak back injury in practice on Tuesday that further hampered his return to the lineup. Nash, the current NBA assists leader, will be back, however, and this team will likely return to its high scoring ways.
This team experienced another slump, at least against the number, at the end of December. They dropped five games in a row against the spread. However, they won four of those contests straight up so the downswing went largely unnoticed by the public.
With one of the best records in the league, are the Suns legitimate NBA Finals contenders? Kornegay thinks that they are one of a handful of teams that could make an impact in the postseason.
"I think all of those teams (out West) are very similar," he said. "I still think that out of all those teams when it comes down to 'crunch time' (that the) Spurs still have the best defensive matchups and that's what it usually comes down to. It's January, we have a long way to go. We have seen it before when teams peak too early. They slow down at the end. It will be interesting to see who is playing well in May.
"The Suns and Sonics kind of remind me of the Mavericks. I know they have had a lot of better defensive players than the Mavericks have had over the last few years. But it's tough to win (in the playoffs) if you can's make the stops."
If there is an area where this team is lacking it would definitely be on the defensive side of the ball. The Suns are ranked No. 24 in the league in points allowed per game (99) and they are letting opponents shoot 44.1 percent per game from the field. Despite their recent struggles, they will continue to be a high scoring exciting team that will capture the attention of the public bettors. And the more the public backs them, the more opportunities there will be for the professionals to go against them if the number is right.