By: Jay Patel and Trent Pruitt
Spread: Phoenix Suns (-5.5)
Money Line: PHO (-220) | CHI (+190)
Tip-Off: 7:00 PM CT
Trent and I join forces to break down a very interesting matchup between the 20-11 Phoenix Suns (fourth in West) and 15-16 Chicago Bulls (sixth in East). Both teams are having resurgent seasons after missing the playoffs last season. CP3 is turning the Suns into a contender while first-time All-Star Zach LaVine has the young Bulls running. Chicago is on a three-game win streak while Phoenix is 8-2 in their last 10 games. This matchup is going to bring the HEAT. Let’s get into it!
Jay’s Best Bet on the Outcome
The Suns big three are really showing out. DBook (25.0 PPG) has balled out for Phoenix and was named an All-Star replacement for Anthony Davis. CP3 (16.7 PPG and 8.6 AST) is doing his thing in his first season with the Suns. And DeAndre Ayton (14.0 PPG and 11.8 REB) is breaking out this season, averaging a double-double. The Suns are no joke this year, and have a blazing hot offense. They average 113.5 PPG and have scored 120+ points in their last five games.
Chicago’s offense is equally explosive. Without Lauri Markkanen and OPJ, the Bulls offense is still finding ways to score, averaging 115.3 PPG. Surprisingly, the Bulls have very similar stats to the Suns. The main difference is Phoenix has a better defense. I’m still thinking a high-scoring game in this one. Booker and LaVine are going to put on a show. I’m riding the over on 225.5 points.
Jay’s Best Prop Bet
Garrett Temple has been a huge addition to the Bulls. His veteran leadership and play on the court has been pivotal in the Bulls turnaround. Temple averages 8.9 PPG, 3.2 REB, and 2.0 AST in his first season with Chicago. Additionally, he has been inserted into the staring lineup due to injuries. My prop bet will be the over on Garrett Temple assists at 1.5 (-152). He may not put up absurd assist numbers for a guard, but I think he has a good chance to hit the over tonight.
Jay’s NBA Picks Record: 9-12
Trent’s Best Bets
We’ve seen this line move up from 5.5 to 7 since I’m entering my portion into the preview. I’m traveling back up to Illinois right now from Florida so I had to pull over and bum some Wifi because I need to get my action in! It’s 6:00 ET right now so I apologize for being late. I guess my point in this scrambled intro is to say that I would’ve played the Suns at 5.5 but not anymore at 7. That’s a little too high for me considering how well the Bulls have been playing recently.
Instead, I’ll take it to the prop sheet and I’m taking the over for the Bulls team total at 109.5 (-115) for a unit. These are two teams that are completely opposite in terms of pace of play. The Bulls rank fourth in the Association at 103.8 possessions per game while the Suns like to play it slow as they rank 29th at 98.8. What I’ve noticed though, and these are my two favorite teams so I pay attention to this kind of thing, is that the Suns have trouble playing to their slow tempo when playing fast paced teams. And that’s not necessarily groundbreaking and innovative thinking, because you’d expect them to see an uptick when playing a top ten team in pace, but it’s a fact. There will be a lot of youth tonight on the court and the young guys love to run the court and chuck up shots. I think we’ll see plenty of fast-paced play and this over for Bulls points will cruise. And believe it or not, Chicago is actually a slightly better rebounding team so maybe we’ll get second chance opportunities on the offensive end. Good luck tonight and sorry if you think this was poorly written, I’m in some random town in Florida banging this out.