Golden State Warriors vs. Phoenix Suns

Golden State Warriors (48-32), +5.5, o/u 231 vs. Phoenix Suns (53-27), -5.5, o/u 231, U.S. Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona, 10 p.m. Eastern, Monday
by Oracle of

It’s now or never, do or die, make or break, and whatever other clich that can be attached to the Golden State Warriors when they head into Phoenix on Monday night. The showdown against the Suns will determine whether or not the Warriors still have a chance at the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff race.

The West has been a jumble for the second half of the season, as at one point 10 teams (Portland) had a legitimate shot at making it to the post-season.

After a while, the race was down to nine teams with Golden State and Denver battling it out. However, after Denver beat Golden State last Thursday, they put themselves in the drivers seat. Since the Nuggets now own the tiebreaker, the Warriors will need to win their last two games this one on Monday night in Phoenix, and against Seattle on Wednesday and hope that the Nuggets lose to the woeful Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

So in the big picture, it doesn’t look good for the Warriors, who were the first ever 8-seed to beat a 1-seed in this current playoff format just last year.

Meanwhile, the Suns have been playing some inconsistent ball as of late. They owned a seven-game winning streak in March, and it looked as though the trade for Shaq was going to work out after all. But they’re just 3-3 in April, and lost a shot at both the Pacific Division and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Whenever these two high-powered offenses get together, fans and bettors alike know that there will be a plethora of points scored.

In fact, out the first three head-to-head meetings this year, the average score is 121.3 118.3 in favor of Golden State.

Heading into this match up, the over/under opened up at 131 at most sportsbooks, however, that number has already creeped up to 133 after bettors were all about the over. The line opened with Phoenix the favorites at 5.5, but line has also moved mildly to 5.

The Warriors won the first two meetings against the Suns this year in Oakland, including a 129-114 pounding. But Phoenix got revenge in March by beating the Warriors at U.S. Airways Center, which was part of their seven game winning streak.

Not surprisingly, the over came in for all three match ups this season. The most recent game beat the over/under total of 237 as well (123-115 Phoenix).

The Suns have struggled a bit offensively, averaging just 93 points in their last two games, including a 101-90 loss to Houston on Friday where they scored just 47 points at the half.

That mark is well under their season average of 110 points per game which is third in the NBA. The Suns also hold the league’s best field goal percentage at a flat 50%, as well as the first-ranked three-point shooting mark at 39.4%.

Phoenix’s struggle as of late can be attributed with Steve Nash’s mini-slump toward the end of the season. Nash scored just six points in the loss to Houston and is averaging just 13.2 points while shooting 38.8% over the last six games. These marks are significantly below his 17.3 points and 50.5% field goal marks for the season.

Golden State has a few things going for them heading into Monday’s showdown. Without a doubt, knowing they need this win should be to their advantage, and the underdog in this match up is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings.

There is some bad news too, though, as they’re just 1-4 ATS in their last five games at U.S. Airways Center.

Phoenix has had two full days rest and they’ve taken advantage of that lately for bettors, going 4-0 ATS after the respite.

They’re also hot covering at home with a 7-1 record ATS in their last eight in Phoenix.

It’s obvious to bettors that the over is a significant trend between these two squads. It’s 5-0 in the last five head-to-head meetings. However, a sneaky trend for bettors to look at is the 7-1 under record for Golden State in their last eight road games.

This game should be a high-paced affair with plenty of action and plenty points scored. It’s also a great pre-cursor to what should be an interesting post-season.